SEX AND ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE: The Lighter Side

by admin on June 21, 2008


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“It isn’t sex that wrecks these guys, it’s staying up all night looking for it.”

Casey Stengel


For the past decade and a half I have been teaching at Albany State University, in Albany Georgia. At State I get an opportunity to teach a lot of different subjects. In fact, it is not uncommon for me to teach twelve different classes during the course of the year. Believe it or not my subject matter ranges from modern dance right up to advanced kinesiology. I like teaching such a variety of course because I feel like I am constantly learning in them. It is like I am getting paid to learn. It’s great!

Anyway, my favorite class is sex education. It’s an amazing class. We talk about everything in there from autosexual behavior right up to zoophilia. Naturally, I get plenty of teasing from my fellow colleagues. I walk down campus and they will yell out “Hey Judd, does that sex education class you teach have a lab on Saturday nights?” or they will say something a little more ingenious like, “Judd, do you give oral exams in that class?” Of course, I assure them that I do.

In all honesty it is not so much that I teach the class as I learn in it. Believe me, over the years I have learned some incredible things about sex education. For instance, did you know that fertilization is that stuff you put on your lawn to make it green or that fallatio is an Italian restaurant? And here is something else I bet you didn’t know. Cunnilingus is the girl in the dorm who lives across the hall from Nikea. Did you also know that ninety-nine percent of the men in the United States masturbate…the other one percent are liars. And here is something that will really freak you out – some people get sexual gratification out of exposing themselves to others – they are called bodybuilders. I’m telling you; ever day I learn something new in that class. It’s awesome!

What happened recently though in the sports world has changed our discussions in my sex class significantly. If you hadn’t heard the Minnesota Vikings took a sex education field trip on the good ship lollypop and shortly there after two cheerleaders form the Carolina Panthers pro football team visited cunnilingus not at her dorm room, but at a restroom stall in Banana Joe’s nightclub. Now my students have major questions about sex and sports.

For instance, the majority of my students want to know if having sex will have an adverse affect on athletic performance. Well, if you have been following the Vikings since their road trip on the Love Boat you would probably say unequivically yes. Interestingly, though that may not be the case. It just might be that the Vikings are as bad on the football field as thay are in the sack and neither of those two things have anything to do with each other.

Actually, the effect that sexual performance has on athletic performance is a rather provocative question – one that excites me, figuratively speaking, that is. In actuality, I have had a wealth of experiencing dealing with this very issue – empirical research not applied experimentation I might add.

A number of years ago at the Wide World of Sports Super Stars Com?petition in Sarasota, Fla., I overheard the former heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Joe Frazier, tell an aspiring athlete that two months prior to a fight he would totally abstain from sex. Sex will make you weak, I never did it before I fought,” explained Joe. “Besides, when I didn’t get sex, I would get mean as hell.” At the time I thought Joe’s advice was about as good as the swimming exhibition he gave during the Superstars competition (In case you missed it, Joe jumped in the pool, took eight strokes that propelled him three feet, and then went straight to the bottom).

I might have been able to buy the mean and vicious part, but as far as sex causing a decrement in athletic performance, I just didn’t believe it. In fact, I had read somewhere that a world class pole vaulter had set a world record less than one-half hour after he made love to his wife. Joe had to be wrong.

Then I met a world class high jumper named Bruce McDaniels who swore that sex prior to competition would indeed cause a decrement in athletic performance. He said that when he had sex before competition he jumped like well, a white man. Less than a year later, I met six world class boxers who told me that not only did they abstain from sex a week prior to competition, but the night before a fight they would actually ice down their genitals so that they wouldn’t risk having a nocturnal emission. Icing down your genitals sounds about as much fun as getting a rectal exam. These guys were obviously serious about what they were doing.

Still there was that Wilt The Stilt Chamberlain thing that makes you sit back and say, “Sex can’t be all that bad.” If you recall Wilt claimed that he had slam dunked 20,000 different females during his basketball career – which would have figured out to be about 5.14 ladies (I use the word ladies loosely here) a day. No wonder they called him “The Big Dipper.” Certainly sex didn’t seem to affect his performance on the court. Nor did it affect Babe” Ruth’s baseball performance who was equally notorious for countless liaisons. They didn’t call him “The Saltin of Swat” for nothing.

Needless to say, I started wondering if what these guys were saying had any merit. Consequently, I decided to look into the matter. A computer search of the research literature came up dry. I couldn’t find a single well-controlled experiment that was designed to determine how sex affects athletic performance. In an attempt to get some answers, I started interviewing the athletes with whom I came in contact with. I was amazed to find that a number of powerlifters felt that engaging in sexual intercourse the night before competition would significantly decrease their performance. I engaged in sex twice before competition and both times I performed terribly in the meet,” recalls an elite lifter who asked to remain anonymous. “My legs were rubber, and I had no strength in my hips or back.” I used to engage in sexual intercourse before I competed,” reported another elite lifter, but I soon found out that I totaled better when I abstained from sex at least the night before. In my case, sex seemed to make my legs heavy, consequently my squat and dead lift suffered. I guess like Rocky’s coach Mickey says, “Women weakens legs.”

Overall though, most athletes, including powerlifters, felt that sexual relations the night prior to competition did not impair athletic performance. In fact, some athletes actually felt that sex improved their performance.

“Actually, sex is a part of my precompetition ritual,” stated world class Olympic lifter Billy Gardner. “It’s relaxing. It helps me still my mind … oh yea, it feels good too.” Brooks Johnson, the United States Olympic track coach agrees (not with the feels good part, although he might if you asked him). “Having successful, as opposed to unsuccessful sex before competition has many pluses,” says Johnson. “It can be relaxing and fulfilling. For some ath?letes it has the same effect as having a good rubdown.” In my opinion, Johnson is either getting the best rubdown this side of the Gold Club in Atlanta or he is dating someone on the order of Cindy Celibate.

Interestingly, the American Medical Association’s committee on the medical aspects of sports, reports that if sex is a regular part of an athlete’s life, sexual relations the night before competition it will not cause a decrement in athletic performance. According to the AMA, the only way that athletic performance could be hindered by sexual relations prior to competition is:

If the athlete doesn’t get enough sleep.

If sex is not a regular part of the athlete’s life.

If the athlete believes that it will impair his or her athletic performance.

Unfortunately, the American Medical Association didn’t have any research to substantiate the aforementioned points. Of course, you would expect that the A.M.A. would be in the know concerning this issue. However, they’ve been wrong before. Don’t forget it was the A.M.A. who said that anabolic steroids did not enhance strength or athletic performance. In other words, because they (the A.MA) say it’s so doesn’t mean it’s always so. Still, they probably are the people with the information to make the best calculated guess.

When you really think about it, they probably are right. According to Dr. Ruth, the average bout of sexual intercourse only lasts six minutes and it consumes less than two hundred and fifty calories. ( Do you ever wonder who times someone having sex beside my old girlfriend) Notice, I said “average.” For a lifter, it would probably be six hours and a half million calories. Assuming the old cliche is true, that lifters get it up and keep it there. When you think about it, you probably burn up more calories in your first two or three sets of warm-ups. I would also venture to say that most lifters are in pretty good shape (with the exception of a few of our super heavy weights) especially compared to the average Joe Blow walking around. Consequently, they probably can handle six minutes of bliss a lot better than most people?from a physical standpoint that is. Still, all of this is just speculation. When research is conducted to determine the effects of sexual relations on lifting performance, we just may find out that it will decrease performance.

Come to think of it, I’d like to do that research. Anyway, until some research is conducted, your guess is as good as mine as to whether sexual relations will hinder athletic performance. So until then, you’ll have to figure out what’s best for you through trial and error. Look at the bright side though, the trial and the error is going to hurt so g-o-o-d.

Dr. Judd

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

OX June 23, 2008 at 9:31 pm

I’m glad to have read that there’s not much concrete evidence either way on the subject. This is a conversation I often have with my younger lifting peers. I personally find that there’s nothing worse for a physique than hyper promiscuity. For my transformation I abstained from sexually activity, save perfunctory nocturnal emission (the thought of icing down never occurred to me) for four months.

When I emerged from the ‘abyss’, after the transformation, I discovered that I had a body that was incredibly likable with the ‘ladies’. I also discovered how much an active sex life can spell the end of physical physique progress. It wasn’t the pursuit that was killing my, if anything I was the hunted, it was everything attached to it, the going out to bars for a drink or two, the excess calories at dinners because you’re not secure enough to order a ‘chopped Caesar salad, grilled chicken, hold the croutons, cheese and dressing,’ while on a date and the staying up late and the sex-attached factors that kill the physique. Also, it’s pretty hard to catch good night’s sleep in a strange bed, or a familiar bed with a different person.

In our society sex is such taboo and has been brushed into the corner. I mean the majority of sexual activity takes place at night, again cutting into a good night’s rest. Those of us with gym etiquette do believe in getting it up and keeping it up, perhaps to the point when the body starts to release cortisol is cope with the excess and undo stress. A cortisol jacked night followed by a rough night of sleep, late wake up, missed meal and hampered workout and it’s easy to see how sex can mean the deterioration to one’s resolve.

I think the ideal situation would be to hit the gym around 7am and the sheets around 10am, leaving the entire day and night to rest, recover, recharge for tomorrow’s workout. Of course, I’ll toss it out altogether while trying to bulk / strengthen. The body can only produce so much natural testosterone and if comes down to it, I’ll save it for the gym. In my heaven there’s a strip-club right next door to a 24 hour gym; a little spectator warm-up and then right into heavy work.

A field test of six weeks of celibacy, followed by a max-bench attempt with a female spotter has proved, for me, that the re-introduced female pheromone bomb can indeed help you break previous barriers.

Perhaps some day I’ll be able to cultivate a healthy emotional and sexual relationship with an attractive girl that has a general interest in fitness… But then again, most cardio-bunnies run like hell in the opposite direction when they see / hear a guy actually put a little effort into their lifting.

It is an interesting topic indeed and can be debated as much as, “the correct way to perfectly spit-shine a combat boot.” I think at the end you perform like you practice and it depends on the lifter.

coachcraig June 24, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Only the Ox could write such a reply.

Awesome. Especially the 10 AM strategy.

You made me and I’m sure the rest of us smile with acknowledgment that we lifters are indeed a breed apart.

We all thank you for the reminder that we lifters do indeed belong to this “exclusive” club and are not really that neurotic nor strange at all.

Just a little misunderstood.

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