“Sorry Baby, Not Tonight. Coach Says I Can’t Have Sex Before a Game”: Demystifying Abstaining from Sex Before Athletic Competition

Marita Padilla, Midwestern University, USA

Theme: Professional issues and ethics (AASP-related)

Program ID: SYM-13

Presentation: October 3, 2013 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Room: Elmwood


For most people, including athletes, sexual activity is a part of everyday life. For decades, coaches and other influential members of athletic organizations have discouraged athletes from engaging in sexual activities prior to athletic competition (Pupiš, Rakovi?, Stankovic, Koci?, & Savanovi?, 2010). The idea that it is important to abstain from sexual activities (e.g., intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, etc.) prior to sport competition is exacerbated by fear (Fischer, 1997). Athletes fear sub-par performance, losing competitions, and even increased risk of injury as a result of engaging in sexual activity prior to competition. However, it is unclear if these fears are warranted. This research examined five ideas related to sex and sport performance: 1) Abstaining from sex will increase testosterone production; 2) Having sex before athletic competition will adversely impact endurance; 3) Having sex before competition will adversely impact the body; 4) Having an orgasm relaxes the body making it difficult to be alert and ready for athletic competition; and 5) Sex will distract players from game associated tasks. Results based upon a critical review of available literature indicated that: abstaining from sex increases testosterone production; having sex before athletic competition adversely impacts endurance; and having sex before competition adversely impacts the body. There was insufficient research evidence to support or refute the ideas that having an orgasm relaxes the body making it difficult to be alert and ready for athletic competition and that sex distracts players from game associated tasks.

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