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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

AdilanClub: Olympic sex: Why going for gold in the bedroom WON'T actually ruin your sporting performance the next day

Sulaiman Kamal | 10:11 PM | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Abstinence: The Ancient Greeks believed it was a good idea to refrain from sex before the Olympics, out of fears that such extra-curricular activities would sap up all a man's testosterone

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Some 150,000 condoms have been shipped into the Olympic Village to ensure that, in the words of Boris Johnson, the 10,500 athletes 'inspire a generation' rather than 'create a generation'.

But will all OIympians be partaking in bedroom sports in those teeny tiny single beds and shared rooms?

Or do some believe - as those original Olympians the Ancient Greeks did before them - that athletes should abstain from sex in the run-up to a sporting performance?

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Those who do may be frustrating themselves unnecessarily, as it now seems there is no evidence to support this myth, and that female Olympians may actually benefit from sex the night before their event.

(In which case, spare a thought for Lauryn and Russell Mark - and in particular, Lauryn - the Australian shooters who have been told they cannot share a room in the Olympic Village, despite being married, for fears it will inconvenience their roommates.)

Historically it has been widely thought that sexual activity reduces physical prowess, eats up aggression and testosterone, and leaves a body unable to perform adequately the next day.

For generations coaches, managers and athletes have practiced abstinence the night - sometimes even weeks - before big sporting events.

During the 2010 World Cup, England manager Fabio Capello reduced his players' access to their WAGs, limiting couples' time alone together to just one day after each game.

And during the 1998 tournament, then coach Glenn Hoddle famously forbade his squad from having any sex at all.

As is reported by Reuters, Boxing supremo Muhammad Ali claims to have gone for six weeks without sex before big fights, and America's Marty Liquori, once the world's best 5000m runner, said: 'Sex makes you happy. Happy people don't run a 3.47 mile.'

But according to scientists, no research done on the matter has found that sex reduces physical strength, power or endurance.

Ian Shrier, a professor in the department of family medicine at McGill University in Canada, said: 'When we test people in the lab, we are examining "tests of performance", but in competition, psychology very likely plays a much more important role.

'Those who claim it decreases performance usually say it is because it decreases focus or aggression or tension. There are no studies that have examined this.'

A review of studies on the issue published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine suggested sex the night before competition has no effect on results.

In one study, 14 married male former athletes were given a grip strength test the morning after sex, and the same test having abstained from sex for six days.

The results showed neither muscle strength nor muscle endurance to be negatively affected by sex the night before.

A follow-up study at Colorado State University on 10 fit, married men aged between 18 and 45 tested grip strength, balance, lateral movement, reaction time, aerobic power, and oxygen efficiency - sex did not impact negatively on any of these tests.

The theory that sexual frustration makes people more aggressive, and that sex saps testosterone - an athletic performance-related hormone - out of the body, has never been scientifically proven.

Shrier said: 'Even if that theory is correct, most people currently believe there is an optimal level of aggression or focus - too little and you don't do well, too much and you don't do well.'

Meanwhile, an Israeli physician named Alexander Olshanietzky is pro sex when it comes to female athletes.

Before the 1996 Atlanta games he said: 'We believe that a woman gets better results in sports competition after orgasm. Generally, it's true of high jumpers and runners. The more orgasms, the more chances of winning a medal.

'Coaches generally tell their athletes to abstain before competition. In the case of women, that's the wrong advice.'

Martin Milton, an expert in psychotherapeutic and counselling psychology at the University of Surrey, said the difference sex made to athletic performance would completely depend on who was doing it, for how long, and with how much vigour.

She said: 'If it's "up all night swinging from the rafters'" type sex we're talking about, then obviously the athlete is not going to be getting enough sleep or rest and their mind isn't on the job.

'So that might well be more the issue than whether or not being involved in a short period of sex might be detrimental to someone's performance.'


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