Opinion: Soccer and sex

POSTED: 06/7/12 1:08 PM

The European soccer championship is about to begin in the Ukraine. Reason for the science editors of the Volkskrant to search for new answers to a very old question: is sex before a match a secret weapon? Does it lead to weak knees, and missed scoring opportunities? If professional soccer is a business, we’d like to expand the question: does it make sense to have sex before you go to work every day? Or does that lead to a rude attitude to clients and kissed sales opportunities?
The Volkskrant notes that opponents of sex before a sports match hail from the world of boxing and American football. Boxers and football-players have complained about a lack of aggression after their orgasms. At the same time some soccer trainers advice their players to have sex because of its relaxing effect.
The science editors note that men produce less testosterone after an orgasm and their muscles are more relaxed. At least that’s what the Dutch urologist Van Driel writes in his book aptly entitles Sport and Sex. The question is however how long this effect lasts and whether this is the same for everybody.
Sprinter Linford Christie for instance felt his legs go to mush after sex, while soccer star Ronaldo made more goals. But who is going to test its sales force on the effects of these activities? Only in the world of professional sports such questions seem to be considered acceptable.
Then there is the question about the effects oxytocine brings about. We don’t hold it against anybody not to know what oxytocine is – we didn’t know either – but what it boils down to is that this substance is good for team spirit. And oxytocine – you guessed it – is produced by the body during sex. Blood tests have shown however that the oxytocine effect disappears within half an hour, so it is hard to imagine how this would affect somebody’s performance in a soccer match, let alone in a sales meeting with a tendency to start at ten o’clock.
Abstention leads to higher testesterone levels in men. That’s handy in some sports, urologist Van Driel says, because it makes them more agressive. And sex also often results in a good night’s sleep – a notion that we find at least debatable because it depends on how long the sex lasts.
The science editors also looked at possible psychological effects on for instance the ability to concentrate. A Belgian study among twelve soccer players showed that their muscles acidify faster and that their endurance was less if they’d had sex on the previous day. But Swiss doctors arrived at a different conclusion. They let fifteen athletes do a fitness test twice after sex and they took their blood samples. Two hours after the sex they had not recovered completely, but after ten hours everything was back to normal.
Van Driel says that athletes have to figure out the effect through experimenting. The general conclusion is: sex is okay, but not shortly before a match. The findings by the science editors make us suspect that employees should not have sex before they go to work in the morning but that they ought to schedule the pleasure for after the ten o’clock news if they want to arrive at their desk in top shape the next morning.

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