Here's How Sex & Masturbation Really Affect Athletic Performance

As you may have noticed, some of the Olympics 2016 coverage is very much sex-related. What's going on in the Olympic Village? Do Olympic athletes abstain from sex or hookup before competing? Which athletes are hooking up with each other? I mean, can anyone remember the last time nine million free condoms were distributed at the Olympics? No; because that nine million is a record breaking amount. Although the athletes at the Olympic Village will only see 450,000 of those condoms, because the rest will be going to equally horny spectators, looking for sexy fun in the Brazilian sun.

Keeping with the sex and Olympics theme, sex toy brand Adam & Eve commissioned a study to see if sex or masturbation before a big competition has any effect on performance — because some believe it has a negative effect. During the 2014 World Cup, some coaches banned sex out of fear it would ruin the performance of their players and rumor has it that Muhammad Ali abstained from sex a whopping six weeks. But according to the study by Adam & Eve and Coach Dr. Mike Young, abstaining from sex might do more harm than good.

"There's long been the belief that a man's sperm was somehow linked to his testosterone,” Dr. Young tells Bustle. “The theory suggested that preserving one's sperm by abstaining from sex or masturbation would somehow keep testosterone high or maybe even increase it. Because testosterone is somewhat of a wonder-hormone when it comes to sports performance, the idea was that refraining from ejaculation could boost testosterone and thereby make a man stronger and more aggressive. The problem is that this link between ejaculation and testosterone is not only incorrect and refuted by research, but there is some evidence to suggest that ejaculation may actually increase testosterone."

Takeaway? You might want to give score yourself an orgasm before going out on the field. Here are seven other facts about sex and sports that the study found.

1. There’s A Psychological Link Between Sex & Performance

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Of the 21 male and female athletes who were part of the three-week-long study, those athletes who firmly believe that sex would improve their performance, 68 percent saw positive results. In the same vein, those who believed that sex prior to a competition would derail them in some way, 70 percent of those people saw their performance suffer. As coach Dr. Mike Young explained in the study:

If you feel that your sex life is having a negative impact on your athletic prowess, then there’s a high chance that it will. If you believe regular sex boosts your energy and gives you superpowers, then this can materialize in improved sporting performance.

2. Over 50 Percent Of Athletes Think Masturbation Is A Great Help

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For 59 percent of athletes who engaged in masturbation before a competition, they definitely saw some major improvements in their performance. It’s these athletes who experienced increased acceleration over a 20m distance. I guess this further proves that masturbation really is the best.

3. More Than Half Saw Their Strength Boost After Sex

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According to the study, 60 percent of athletes saw “their maximum strength output rocket when tested after having sex.” If that doesn’t throw out Muhammad Ali’s suspicions about sex messing with his physical performance, then I’m not sure what will.

“Boxers often abstain from sex before a big fight,” Jeffrey Sumber, MA, MTS, LCPC, psychotherapist and bestselling author of Renew Your Wows! , told Bustle. “It makes sense, right? Keep all that testosterone pent up in there until it is time to unleash the force. However, for some elite athletes, remaining the master of one’s domain is less appealing as a tool for optimal performance. Why? I believe a possibility is the cultural shift that has occurred in the past decade, largely impacted by apps, swipes, and Netflix-chilling. More and more of us see sex as a workout, not a relationship in process. So what better stress release than sex when you have the world watching and a nation depending on you?”

4. Male Athletes Saw The Benefits Of Masturbation More Than Woman

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Although 59 percent of the athletes believe that masturbation really helped enhance their performance, the male athletes saw the biggest difference. Sixty-four percent of the men reported improvement in strength, speed, and overall power during their competitions thanks to a little one-on-one time before hitting the track or field.

5. The Minority Of Athletes Think Pre-Game Sexual Activity Is A Bad Idea

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Whether it’s because they adhere to the old school way of thinking or something that they’re basing on personal experience, of the 10 percent of athletes who felt getting it on was a bad idea — either solo or with someone else — prior to a competition, 4 in 10 saw negative effects. This was most especially the case in vertical jumping ability. I guess orgasms take you high enough that you can’t reach some epic levels immediately afterward… or something.

6. Masturbation Is Actually Better Than Sex In Regards To Performance

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Perhaps it’s because sex involves a bit more effort, but according the study, masturbation increased agility in athletes by 10 percent and strength by 13 percent. Sex, on the other hand, increased agility by 3.1 percent and strength by only 0.7 percent.

7. Tiger Woods’ Performance Plummeted After His Sex Scandal Hit The News

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Although Tiger Woods is no Olympian, the research did find a very interesting correlation between his performances before and after 2009, when his sex scandal hit the tabloids. Between 1997 and 2009, when Woods most likely saw sex in a more positive light, his golf success rate was pretty much mind-blowing. However, from 2010 to 2014, his performance dropped significantly. Although the researchers do admit that there were other contributing factors at play, like the public scandal for starters, his divorce, and loss of sponsorships, they do think the psychological effect of sex was a contributor to his success prior to 2009 and his lack of success in the years after that.

Images: Giphy (7)