Sex Machine

Ignore the spoilsports who say it’s taboo – a steamy session before the big race could significantly improve your performance

Posted: 1 July 2010
by Judith Hurrell

Should you snog before you jog? Athletes traditionally abstain from sex before big competitions. Muhammad Ali wouldn't do it from six weeks before a fight, while footballers in the 1970s adopted the mantra: 'Nothing after Wednesday if you're playing on Saturday.' New evidence suggests, however, that the celibate may be missing out on athletic benefits. Here's the lowdown on why you should nip upstairs for a quickie the night before your race...

All about chemistry

Testosterone is the hormone both of sexual desire and competitive aggression. But does sex really deplete your reserves, as athletes have traditionally feared? Rubbish, says Emmanuele Jannini, Professor of Endocrinology at the University of L'Aquila, Italy. In fact, pre-race sex can give you a hormone high: Jannini's studies have proven that sex raises testosterone levels, which boosts competitive spirit. Jannini's prescribed dosage? "Complete, satisfactory sexual intercourse the evening before race day."

Girls on top

There's even better news for female runners. According to research at Rutgers University in the US, sexual stimulation in women creates powerful pain-blocking effects that could help to sooth post-run muscular pain. It is thought that this is because female sexual arousal blocks the release of a pain-transmitting neuropeptide called substance P. Israeli physician Alexander Olshanietzky took this theory one step further, claiming that female runners and high jumpers also experience an energy boost after sex. "The more orgasms, the more chance of winning a medal," he famously claimed before the Atlanta Games in 1996.

Calorie count

There's no need to worry about sex zapping your energy before a race. Scientists say that the average bout of nookie expends a similar number of calories as climbing two flights of stairs. This means that "sex the night before does not affect strength, endurance or the capacity to utilise oxygen", according to Dr Ian Shrier from the Department of Family Medicine at McGill University, Canada. He points to one study in particular, in which male athletes were made to run on a treadmill 12 hours after having had sex. They showed no decline in stamina, or mental and physical performance.

On the brain

Although little is known about the psychological effects of sex on athletic performance, many believe it stimulates a mental buzz. Sports therapist Anna Couser agrees: "I advocate athletes indulging in sex the night before a big event. They should be as relaxed as possible, as this allows them to perform better under pressure." After winning the US 10K title in 1993, American three-time Olympian Lynn Jennings attributed her victory, in part, to having had sex the night before. She claimed that it had "solidified [her] core feeling of happiness".

Sexual healing

Sex can also help you sleep - if you're a man, at least. The male orgasm induces relaxation and sound sleep, boosts the immune system and helps to repair damage to muscle tissue. This, together with the cocktail of endorphins and serotonin that are also released during sex, means that athletes are more likely to wake up feeling energised, optimistic and balanced.

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Discuss this article

well SOMEONE had to start the discussion!!!

Not sure the average 'bout of nookie' (who wrote THAT Benny Hill?)using the same amount of calories as climbing two flights of stairs......must be a pretty short 'bout of nookie'!

Posted: 02/07/2010 at 11:04

I would have thought it helps as it releases endorphines and helps you to sleep better - a good mental attitude is a big help and being awake engenders a more positive attitude
Posted: 02/07/2010 at 11:37

When my OH did Lanzarote IM in 1995 he was advised to forgo marital relations in the run up....... good job he never does what he's told unless its by me !!  Mindyou - he did come in a little slower than he'd trained for (the race, not the ermm......well, you know ) so..............?
Posted: 02/07/2010 at 11:45

I know it helps you finsih a race asap, so you can get back and have a right good fck.......!
Posted: 02/07/2010 at 11:46

Is is racing etiquitte to do it on the start line - is that what they mean?
Posted: 02/07/2010 at 13:15

I e-mailed the link to my girlfriend (who's currently in America).

I'm yet to get her to speak about the subject

Posted: 02/07/2010 at 20:30

2 flights of stairs?  I thought us runners would be at least burning enough calories to run up the Empire State Building

Posted: 05/07/2010 at 20:48

Chance would be a fine thing haha!
Posted: 05/07/2010 at 22:04

Beats the normal stretching before running

Posted: 06/07/2010 at 12:20

I knew it!!!! I knew that sex wasn't the most calorie buring activity you could do. There are loads more things that make me more out of breath than 15 mins of sex, icluding actually taking the stairs. The 3 flights of stairs at college always have me gasping for oxygen lol. Sex is easy compared to that lol. (

Agree with the sex not affecting performance the next day. I had sex the night before before race day. Needed something to calm my nerves so i could sleep and i didn't think alcohol was wise. Ran my 1st 10k in 56.50 the next day - only 10 secs per mile slower than my personal best for that distance.

Do not believe that sex the night before helps relieve muscle aches after the race tho. My hip really hurt and it hurt to walk the next day after my race. Possibly sex right after the race would help, but u might wanna take a shower first lol.

Posted: 08/07/2010 at 07:58

Sex helps women block out pain and men sleep.

 What does that say about us?

Posted: 29/07/2010 at 10:00

I wouldn't recomend sex in the middle of the night before a race... I found doing so did calm my nerves, but on the other side I was knackered the following morning.... maybe I should have stuck with just the once before bed rather than....

Once point about the article 

 male athletes were made to run on a treadmill 12 hours after having had sex. They showed no decline in stamina, or mental and physical performance

12 Hours is that 12 hours on a treadmill or 12 hours after sex ? 

Duckinator, I think you should have kept that quiet, don't want the Mrs to come back and tell you it works!

Posted: 30/07/2010 at 19:48

My thoughts precisely,go for it whenever the mood takes,the legs may need a good warm up but what a mental buzz when you get 10 mins into the run.Keep running & shagging every1,we're only here once. 
Posted: 31/07/2010 at 18:15

I have a race tomorrow. Anyone fancy a quickie?
Posted: 31/07/2010 at 19:21

Too tired ta!!!! No women on this discussion, cant think why!!
Posted: 11/08/2010 at 13:37

The night before, or in the morning before?  Or both? 

Doesn't seem to do me (or my Squeeze) any harm.  We've both had several PBs over various distances in the last couple of years

But then, we've not tried NOT having sex before a race.....

Posted: 11/08/2010 at 13:44

Would Hepthathletes need to have one bout or something before each event.
Posted: 12/08/2010 at 10:49

Sound advice methinks, although I would worry about pulling a muscle or two the night before a run lol!
Posted: 27/09/2010 at 11:37

I don't have sex. I'm happily married.
Posted: 27/09/2010 at 11:41

LIVERBIRD wrote (see)
I don't have sex. I'm happily married.


Posted: 28/09/2010 at 11:38

i don't have a girlfriend and the old lady below my flat doesn't appeal. would a wank suffice?
Posted: 03/10/2010 at 22:15

My thoughts exactly,just on one thing different with me,my half marathon was due to start at 6-30pm on sat eave,mmm what do you do when in a hotel room all day with your girl freind !well 3 sex sessions later !3-30pm,totally zonked !!

But come race start,flying as was the result !fastest all year & im 50 yrs old.

Highly recommend it ! allthough not 3 times so close in one day.

Posted: 17/01/2011 at 16:48

Yes you are a sex machine James.Im your girlfriend and loved it,chilled us right out!! oh and guess what i was 6th lady at that half,so whos going 2 complain!!
Posted: 17/01/2011 at 17:08

Posted: 17/01/2011 at 17:15

So true and its not only sex. Masturbating is actually better for males 1 hour before a run. Your more relaxed and are pumped to run. Give it a go I guarantee it works.
Posted: 30/06/2011 at 11:41

The toilets smell bad enough ta.......
Posted: 30/06/2011 at 11:43

Martin S 341 wrote (see)
So true and its not only sex. Masturbating is actually better for males 1 hour before a run. Your more relaxed and are pumped to run. Give it a go I guarantee it works.
Using our own nobs, I take it?
Posted: 30/06/2011 at 12:37

"Pumped to run"?
Posted: 30/06/2011 at 16:12

That's not a positive mental image guys !

Posted: 30/06/2011 at 16:14

"I am pumping myself to run" hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Posted: 30/06/2011 at 16:16

What were James and Martin searching for when they resurrected this old thread?
Posted: 30/06/2011 at 17:33

Sex and "gril" with extra SPAM.

Posted: 07/04/2012 at 13:53

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Posted: 19/12/2014 at 12:49

Dev D looks made of wax.

Posted: 19/12/2014 at 13:48


Posted: 19/12/2014 at 14:03

PhilPub wrote (see)

Dev D looks made of wax.

Perfect.  As well as a jolly good screw, you can stick some wicks in her fingers afterwards and relax by candlelight.

Posted: 19/12/2014 at 14:59

Wax on, wax off

Posted: 20/12/2014 at 09:37

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