year 5, Issue 3 (Autumn 2017)                   Ann Appl Sport Sci 2017, 5(3): 5-12 | Back to browse issues page

XML Print

Download citation:
BibTeX | RIS | EndNote | Medlars | ProCite | Reference Manager | RefWorks
Send citation to:

Soori M, Mohaghegh S, Hajian M, Abedi Yekta A. Sexual Activity before Competition and Athletic Performance: A Systematic Review. Ann Appl Sport Sci 2017; 5 (3) :5-12
1- Department of Sport Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2- Department of Sport Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran ,
3- Minimally Invasive Surgery Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Abstract:   (22167 Views)
Objectives. The purpose of the present study was to systematically evaluate the scientific evidence about the impact of pre-competition sexual activity on athletic performance.
Methods. Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) statement, PubMed, Scopus, ISI Web of Science, Cochrane Library, ProQuest, Physiotherapy Evidence Database(PEDro), and Google Scholar searches were performed with appropriate keywords without time and language restrictions for studies evaluating the impact of sexual activity on athletic performance. The titles and abstracts were reviewed by two independent reviewers. The methodological quality of the studies and the risk of bias were checked using the quality assessment tool of the Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP).
Results. We found that most studies on this topic had low methodological quality. Out of the456 articles retrieved in the search, only seven met the inclusion criteria of the review. In four of these studies, sexual activity10–12 hours before competition did not alter short-term physiological testing results including maximum-effort grip strength test, hamstring flexibility, reaction time, aerobic power (stair-climbing exercise), VO2max (treadmill and cycle ergometer test), sub-maximal graded-exercise test, muscular endurance, oxygen pulse, double product, testosterone, cortisol, blood glucose concentrations, and mental concentration. In one study, significantly higher differences were reported for post-maximal stress test heart rate at 5 and 10 minutes during two hours of recovery period after sexual intercourse, which disappeared when a maximal stress test was performed 10 hours after sexual activity. In another study immediately after sexual intercourse, 40% of long-distance athletes had difficulty during intensive loading, while in 90% of the addressed athletes, sexual activity 12 hours before the endurance test did not have an influence on performance.
Conclusion. Based on mainly low-quality and heterogeneously designed studies, it can be concluded that having sex at least 10–12 hours before athletic events does not negatively influence physiological test results and possibly athletic performance. However, having sex immediately or a few hours before a competition has negative psychological or physiological effects on athletic performance.
Full-Text [PDF 384 kb]   (8772 Downloads)    
• The available data about the impact of sexual activity on athletic performance are majorly low-quality and heterogeneous data.
• Based on physiological testing results, it does not seem that having sex at least 10–12 hours before a competition has negative effects on athletic performance, provided the sexual activity of the athlete does not affect other performance-related factors such as enough sleep and adequate nutrition.
• Sexual activity immediately or a few hours before a competition may have negative psychological or physiological effects on athletic performance.

Type of Study: Review Article | Subject: Sport Physiology and its related branches
Received: 2016/09/25 | Accepted: 2017/04/16

1. McGlone S, Shrier I. Does sex the night before competition decrease performance? Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. 2000;10(4):233-4. [DOI:10.1097/00042752-200010000-00001] [PMID]
2. Kraemer HC, Becker HB, Brodie HK, Doering CH, Moos RH, Hamburg DA. Orgasmic frequency and plasma testosterone levels in normal human males. Archives of sexual behavior. 1976;5(2):125-32. [DOI:10.1007/BF01541869] [PMID]
3. Thornton J. Sexual activity and athletic performance: is there a relationship? Physician and sportsmedicine. 1990;18(3):148-54. [DOI:10.1080/00913847.1990.11710003] [PMID]
4. Anshel MH. Effects of sexual activity on athletic performance. The Physician and Sportsmedicine. 1981;9(8):64-8. [DOI:10.1080/00913847.1981.11711137] [PMID]
5. Fischer GJ. Abstention from sex and other pre-game rituals used by college male varsity athletes. Journal of Sport Behavior. 1997;20(2):176.
6. Young M, Penhollow T. Sexual desirability and sexual performance: Does exercise and fitness really matter. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality. 2004;7.
7. Habel MA, Dittus PJ, De Rosa CJ, Chung EQ, Kerndt PR. Daily participation in sports and students\' sexual activity. Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health. 2010;42(4):244-50. [DOI:10.1363/4224410] [PMID]
8. Näslund J. Patellofemoral pain syndrome : Clinical and pathophysiological considerations. Stocknolm, Sweden: Karolinska Institutet; 2006.
9. Sztajzel J, Periat M, Marti V, Rutishauser PKW. Effect of sexual activity on cycle ergometer stress test parameter, on plasmatic testosterone levels and on concentration capacity. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 2000;40(3):233. [PMID]
10. Johnson WR. Muscular performance following coitus∗. Journal of Sex Research. 1968;4(3):247-8. [DOI:10.1080/00224496809550576]
11. Vouyoukas E. The Influence of Sexual Activity on Athletic Performance: Concordia University; 2011.
12. Boone T, Gilmore S. Effects of sexual intercourse on maximal aerobic power, oxygen pulse, and double product in male sedentary subjects. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness. 1995;35(3):214-7. [PMID]
13. Anderson PB, Wei P, Shyu I. The Relationship Between Sexual Activity (and Four other Health Behaviors) and Marathon Performance Among Non-elite Ru nners. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality. 2001;4.
14. Pupiš M, Raković A, Stanković D, Kocić M, Savanović V. Sex and endurance performance. International Scientific Journal of Kinesiology. 2010:21-5.
15. Bohlen JG, Held JP, Sanderson MO, Patterson RP. Heart rate, rate-pressure product, and oxygen uptake during four sexual activities. Archives of Internal Medicine. 1984;144(9):1745-8. [DOI:10.1001/archinte.144.9.1745] [PMID]
16. D. TP. Benefits and risks associated with physical activity. In: S. Pl, editor. ACSMs guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. 9 ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2014. p. 4.
17. Falk RH. The cardiovascular response to sexual activity: do we know enough? Clinical cardiology. 2001;24(4):271-5. [DOI:10.1002/clc.4960240403] [PMID]
18. Arai Y, Saul JP, Albrecht P, Hartley LH, Lilly LS, Cohen RJ, et al. Modulation of cardiac autonomic activity during and immediately after exercise. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 1989;256(1):H132-H41. [DOI:10.1152/ajpheart.1989.256.1.H132] [PMID]
19. Du N, Bai S, Oguri K, Kato Y, Matsumoto I, Kawase H, et al. Heart rate recovery after exercise and neural regulation of heart rate variability in 30-40 year old female marathon runners. J Sports Sci Med. 2005;4(1):9-17. [PMID] [PMCID]
20. Cole CR, Blackstone EH, Pashkow FJ, Snader CE, Lauer MS. Heart-rate recovery immediately after exercise as a predictor of mortality. New England Journal of Medicine. 1999;341(18):1351-7. [DOI:10.1056/NEJM199910283411804] [PMID]
21. Cole CR, Foody JM, Blackstone EH, Lauer MS. Heart rate recovery after submaximal exercise testing as a predictor of mortality in a cardiovascularly healthy cohort. Annals of internal medicine. 2000;132(7):552-5. [DOI:10.7326/0003-4819-132-7-200004040-00041] [PMID]
22. Shin K, Minamitani H, Onishi S, Yamazaki H, Lee M. Autonomic differences between athletes and nonathletes: spectral analysis approach. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 1997;29(11):1482-90. [DOI:10.1097/00005768-199711000-00015] [PMID]
23. Dixon EM, Kamath MV, McCartney N, Fallen EL. Neural regulation of heart rate variability in endurance athletes and sedentary controls. Cardiovascular research. 1992;26(7):713-9. [DOI:10.1093/cvr/26.7.713] [PMID]
24. Brody S. The relative health benefits of different sexual activities. The journal of sexual medicine. 2010;7(4pt1):1336-61. [DOI:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01677.x] [PMID]
25. Brody S, Costa RM. Satisfaction (sexual, life, relationship, and mental health) is associated directly with penile-vaginal intercourse, but inversely with other sexual behavior frequencies. The journal of sexual medicine. 2009;6(7):1947-54. [DOI:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01303.x] [PMID]
26. Tao P, Brody S. Sexual behavior predictors of satisfaction in a Chinese sample. The journal of sexual medicine. 2011;8(2):455-60. [DOI:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.02129.x] [PMID]
27. Oliveira LP, Lawless CE. Hypertension update and cardiovascular risk reduction in physically active individuals and athletes. The Physician and sportsmedicine. 2010;38(1):11-20. [DOI:10.3810/psm.2010.04.1757] [PMID]
28. Asplund C. Treatment of hypertension in athletes: an evidence-based review. The Physician and sportsmedicine. 2010;38(1):37-44. [DOI:10.3810/psm.2010.04.1760] [PMID]
29. Cushman WC. The burden of uncontrolled hypertension: morbidity and mortality associated with disease progression. The Journal of Clinical Hypertension. 2003;5(3):14-22. [DOI:10.1111/j.1524-6175.2003.02464.x] [PMID]
30. Chasen C, Muller JE. Cardiovascular triggers and morning events. Blood pressure monitoring. 1998;3(1):35-42. [PMID]
31. Stefani L, Galanti G, Padulo J, Bragazzi NL, Maffulli N. Sexual activity before sports competition: a systematic review. Frontiers in Physiology. 2016;7:246. [DOI:10.3389/fphys.2016.00246] [PMID] [PMCID]
32. Arent SM, Landers DM. Arousal, anxiety, and performance: A reexamination of the inverted-U hypothesis. Research quarterly for exercise and sport. 2003;74(4):436-44. [DOI:10.1080/02701367.2003.10609113] [PMID]

Send email to the article author

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

© 2024 CC BY-NC 4.0 | Annals of Applied Sport Science

Designed & Developed by : Yektaweb