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  • With over 100,000 condoms ordered in 2010

  • for the Vancouver Winter Olympics,

  • it's obvious.

  • A little extra physical activity goes on during the games.

  • But does this sexual excitement before competition

  • influence an athlete's performance?

  • Many ancient civilizations, including the Greeks,

  • believed that semen was divine and contained a man's strength.

  • Today, some athletes hold the belief that sexual frustration,

  • driven by abstinence, ultimately increases aggression,

  • which is valuable for many sports.

  • Testosterone, in particular, is responsible for

  • aggression and sexual desire in both men and women

  • and there has long been the belief that ejaculation

  • draws testosterone from the body.

  • Muhammad Ali, for example, wouldn't make love

  • for six weeks before a fight.

  • But modern science sees things differently.

  • In fact, many studies have shown the exact opposite.

  • Testosterone increases after sex.

  • Go without for three months and testosterone drop to levels

  • near that of a child.

  • So, from a biological perspective, sex may actually

  • increase performance, particularly in sports where

  • a bit of extra aggression could be the deciding factor.

  • Like ski-cross, short track speed skating, or,

  • of course, hockey.

  • So, what about sex tiring the body out?

  • The honest truth is that the average sex session burns

  • only about 50 calories, the equivalent to running

  • up a few flights of stairs.

  • On the contrary, studies have found that sex the night before

  • has no noticeable effects on strength, power and endurance,

  • or any other fitness variables.

  • Though sex has been documented to trigger the release

  • of pain blockers in the brain.

  • These can help modulate chronic pain with effects lasting

  • upwards of 24 hours.

  • The biggest unknown lies in the psychological effects,

  • which is much harder to study and may actually play

  • a bigger role in major competitions.

  • An athlete's best performance is achieved with

  • a particular balance of alertness and anxiety.

  • Of course, staying up all night chasing sexual escapades

  • tips the scales against alertness the next day.

  • On the other hand, sex can be a great stress release

  • for nervous athletes,

  • while other personalities simply desire more focus and concentration,

  • in which case, a good night's sleep is ideal.

  • At the end of the day, science says it depends

  • on how sex affects each individual.

  • If you need that extra kick of testosterone,

  • then you just might want to get your game on

  • a night early.

  • Don't forget! We have a new video out

  • everyday during the Olympics.

  • Can't wait? Our amazing partners at the CBC already have

  • five of the videos up now for you to binge on.

  • Just head to cbc.ca/olympics/ScienceSays

  • to watch them before anyone else.

  • Link in the description.

  • But we also want to know your questions for this special series.

  • Use the hashtag #ScienceSays and let us know your burning Olympic questions.

  • And subscribe for more awesome science videos!

With over 100,000 condoms ordered in 2010

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Does Sex Affect Athletic Performance?

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    Halu Hsieh posted on 2014/02/24
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