The athlete’s process of reaching to physical and psychological shape in anticipation of the big game or event is meticulous. Every meal, every nap, every routine has to be in accordance with what will keep an athlete in peak readiness.
But what about sex? It may seem arbitrary, but there have been many myths regarding how sex affects athletic performance, both physically and mentally.
This major question was huge during the 2014 World Cup, where many teams had provisions against sex for their players. Russia, Chile, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Mexico did not allow their players to have any sex, according to Quartz.
Nigeria’s players could only have sex with their wives, Spain and Germany banned sex on the night before a match and Brazil allowed sex but only if it was not “acrobatic.”
This being a serious matter among some sports teams, what does the hard science say? Not a whole lot that is concrete, it turns out.
A Reuters article on the topic read, “so far, having sex has not been found to reduce physical strength, power or endurance.”
It went on to list multiple studies that saw no changes in a variety of physical tests without and with sex.
A study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine read, “the performance of some people will improve with sex the night before competition (i.e., responders) and the performance of others will be hindered (i.e., nonresponders).”
A common theme in all of these studies is that they are focused on physical effects, not the psychological.
“There was a point where I had to be like OK, this is way too distracting,” Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson told Us Weekly in regards to the dating application Tinder. “I deleted my account to focus on the Olympics.”
The question of mental effects is likely why Nigeria had their players only have sex with their wives: to avoid relationships that may be considered a distraction.
In the life of an athlete, everything plays a factor in how they perform on the court, field, diamond, etc. Whether or not there is a real effect, their personal lives are now under the microscope as well.