There has been an unspoken rule of performance for centuries that encourages athletes to abstain from sex before competition. The theory has been applied to competition since the ancient Olympics back in Roman Times, originating in the idea that sex and ejaculation resulted in a decrease in testosterone, creating a weaker athlete and decrease desire to win.
However a spate of recent studies (study, study, study, study) have shown that the opposite may actually be true, with sexual activity, particularly with another person, resulting in increases in testosterone of up to 72 per cent.
Support for these studies comes from further research, showing that abstaining from sex for a period of three months of more can significantly reduce testosterone levels.
Dr. Lauren Streicher, medical director of Northwestern Medicine’s Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause told US News that the only reason sex could affect an athletes performance was through lack of sleep. If an athlete is up all night having sex, being tired will clearly have a negative impact on their athletic ability, but so can staying up and watching Netflix.
With this myth dispelled, it seems that if anything, sex would improve the performance of elite athletes, which will no doubt be welcome news to athletes heading into this week’s Winter Olympic village in Pyeongchang. And the International Olympic Committee is prepared. According to the IOC, they’ve ordered 110, 000 condoms to keep athletes safe over the two week period.