Sex and Sports: The Untold Combo for Athletic Performance

Leading up to the FIFA World Cup 2018, while most teams would be dealing with game tactics, training and performance; the Mexico national team was caught up with an off-field and an in-room controversy. Gossip magazine TV Notas reported that nine members of Mexico’s World Cup squad had an all-night party with a group of 30 prostitutes after their farewell home victory against Scotland, two weeks before the World Cup. However, little did it affect their performance on the pitch. Instead, Mexico went on to produce one of the biggest World Cup victories of the season, beating defending champions Germany 1-0 in the opening fixture for both teams.

Despite public and media backlash, the Mexican Football Federation decided not to punish the players, because “they have not missed training” and “a free day is a free day,” in the words of general secretary Guillermo Cantu. On the contrary, when in September 2010, Mexico players had an all-night party in their hotel with unidentified women after a friendly and the federation fined 11 players and slapped six-month suspensions on defender Efrain Juarez and forward Carlos Vela. In June 2011, before a trip to Argentina for the Copa America, Mexican players hired sex workers in a hotel in Quito, Ecuador. They were fined and suspended from the team for half a year.

On the other hand, reports emerged that Germany coach Joachim Loew had issued a strict warning to his players ‘banning sex’ leading to the World Cup. Players were forced to ask for special permission to see their partners or even their children during the build-up to the competition but they will be banned from contact during the tournament. Ironically, Loew allowed the 2014 champions to booze to help boost team spirits. In an article on Bleacher Report, sexologist Megan Stubbs explained some facts, “There are superstitions like you have to abstain the night before or don’t shave your beard or always wear your lucky socks. I’d say that it’s perfectly fine to have sex before a game. Belief in the idea that sex before a game will drain your essence isn’t rooted in any hard facts.” She also noted, “Sex has been shown to have many health benefits such as boosting mood, increased level of pain tolerance and confidence, so when applied to a soccer player, I can only imagine that it would be a bonus to have added to their athletic prowess. As long as it isn’t a marathon sex session and nothing wild with an increased risk of injury, I think sex before a game is great.”

That indeed explains why Brazil great Romario suggested only one thing to youngster Gabriel Jesus to score more goals- “to have enough sex”. Like any other society in the world, sex remains a taboo in sports as well, but the recent trend has seen players, coaches and most importantly team doctors and physios open up about the intimate happenings of athletes. Even the Olympic games is no stranger to sex. In the 2018 Winter Olympics, the Olympic village of PyeongChang, South Korea saw 110,000 condoms freely distributed amongst the 2,925 athletes. This roughly boils down to 37 condoms per athlete. According to swimmer Ryan Lochte, roughly 70 to 75 percent of people engage in sexual activity while at the village and a report in Maxim states, “While the 2018 Winter Olympics is breaking the condom record by having the largest number of condoms ever made available at any of the Winter Games, it’s nice to appreciate the fact that a whopping 450,000 condoms were distributed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, averaging 42 per athlete”.

A common myth that exists is that sex will relax an athlete way too much before their game. Some experts believe abstaining from sex at least 48 hours before competition is best since anything closer to game day may decrease aggression and testosterone, but a ton of researchers have in fact found no hard evidence that indulging in sex has any effect on an athlete’s performance. There are a ton of studies with their respective agendas on how sex has no effect on performance or some even suggesting that it can help boost your performance. But what all boils down to is the psychology. Sex is a common need of the body, something that most individuals desire. And psychologists believe to have or not have sex before a game is like any other pre-game superstition. The bottom line is sex is a necessity for the body and to have or not have sex is completely the decision of that person, as long as its consensual and enjoyable.

Picture Credits : chroniclelive

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