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Sex and Athletic Performance

            For thousands of years, athletes and coaches have held a belief that having sexual intercourse before an athletic event will decrease an athlete's performance. This belief stems as far back as 1st Century Greece and physician Dr. Aretaeus's words of how if a man desired to get the most strength out of his body, he must keep semen inside of him. Move forward nearly two millenniums and the basis of this myth and idea is still in play today. During the entire month of World Cup soccer matches, coaches forbade their players from having sex. Athletes, such as boxers and cyclists believe that by saving sex they are conserving energy and have been known to stay away from sex weeks and months before their respected events. Other athletes, such as runners, even avoid sex in an attempt to stay angry and keep the sharp aggression for the next meet. While this myth has been around for many years, there have been few scientific studies performed to help prove or disprove its validity. The few studies that have been performed, have covered different angles such as gender, sports, measured chemicals in the body or varied measured muscular tests, in order to determine whether or not having sexual intercourse before an athletic event truly does hurt an athletes performance.
             In 2000, Dr. J Sztaijzel and M. Periat published a laboratory study titled, "Effect of Sexual activity on cycle ergometer stress test parameters, on plasmatic testosterone levels and on concentration capacity." The participants in this study were 15 high-level male athletes who were all between 20 and 40 years old. The participants consisted of 1 soccer player, 7 hockey players, 3 cyclists, 2 long-distance runners and 2 weightlifters. In addition, each athlete was accompanied by his or her respected sexual partner. Over a two-day span, each athlete would be monitored while undergoing two maximal strength tests, one two hours after sexual intercourse and the other ten hours after sexual intercourse, and a one-hour arithmetic stress test paired with an arithmetic mental concentration test.

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