Sports Sex Ban Theory Debunked at World Cup
The long held idea that having sex before big sports events impairs a man’s on-field performance has been debunked (well kindof) at the World Cup in Brazil, where every team that banned sex has failed to make it past round 16.
All of the teams that completely banned their players from having sex during the World Cup – namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Chile, Ghana, Mexico, South Korea and Russia – have been eliminated and will walk away from the tournament empty handed.
Some of those failures weren’t a surprise. They weren’t expected to make the grade anyway. But the early exit of some – South Korea for example – who finished bottom of their group, did surprise some because South Korea reached the semi-finals in 2002 when playing on home ground, and since 198 has failed to reach the knockout stage only once before.
Six of the eight teams remaining in the World Cup have not specifically asked their players to abstain from sex, but have put in place specific guidelines regarding the duration and positions players can experiment with while they’re in Brazil according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Sex Before World Cup – Who Can And Who Can’t
According to the Nigerian website and TV channel BuniTV here is how the teams lined up in terms of declarations on sex:
Nigeria (Sex, but only in wedlock. )
Don’t Make It Too Pleasurable
Runner Marty Liquori allegedly once said that: ‘Sex makes you happy. Happy people do not run a 3:47 mile.”
Maybe that’s the basis for some of the instructions team managers have given to the World Cup players.
The Brazilians are allowed sex as long as it’s not too adventurous. Nigerians can have to have sex with their wives, but not their girlfriends.
French players, who beat Nigeria 2-0 on Tuesday morning, have been told they need to save their energy and get it over quickly.
Germany, who are only forbidden from having sex the night before a game, orchestrated a come from behind victory over Algeria, while Costa Rica’s progression through to the last eight could be put down to the fact their sex ban was lifted the night before their clash with Greece in the round of 16.
English players are allowed to fly their families over as long as they fit in the team’s training schedule but captain Steven Gerrard is leaving his family at home
Spain demands no funny business the night before matches, only on days off.
Trust Rocky – Women Weaken Legs
Sports scientist Professor David Bishop from the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living at Victoria University, in Melbourne, says the same idea is behind the movie Rocky where Sly Stallone’s boxing manager Mickey snarls at the trainee heavyweight to avoid his girlfriend because “women weaken legs”.
Professor Bishop commented in a paper Sex Before Sport – Does It Affect Athletic Performance? there is no scientific evidence to support the ancient idea that semen contains some elemental energy, which if retained gives a man extra vigor.
Sex Doesn’t Improve Or Impair Sports Performance
Four of the studies he looked at “all have concluded that there is no detrimental or beneficial effect of sexual activity before competition on subsequent athletic performance”.
Some have argued that sex deprives athletes of energy and ejaculation saps the body of testosterone.
While sex itself may not be a problem, Bishop says chasing sex may well be. “It’s well known late nights in bars and consuming a lot of alcohol impair athletic performance.”
Sexual intercourse does not burn much energy and many studies suggest ejaculation helps keep testosterone production high – probably a good thing for sporting performance.
Bedroom Secrets of Top Sportsmen
Sportsex, a much-praised book on the bedroom secrets of top athletes by Toby Miller, Professor of Cultural Studies at Murdoch University in Perth discloses the background on some iconic sporting achievements – and tells “who did” and “who didn’t” get it on before the big day.
Among those whose triumphs followed nights of denial:
- Khalid Khannouchi’s marathons
- Muhammad Ali’s fights
- the 1996 Canadian Olympic swim team
- Mike Ditka’s Chicago Bears
- John Elway’s Super Bowl victories
- Carl Frosch’s knockouts.
These are contrasted with great performances that come hard on the heels of nocturnal indulgence:
- Wilt Chamberlain’s hundred-point basketball game
- Bob Beamon’s Olympic long jump
- Brazil’s 1994 World Cup victory
- Kerrin-Lee Gartner’s Olympic skiing gold
- Marty Liquori’s mile record
- Joe Namath’s Super Bowl success.
Professor Miller says mythology swirls around the 1974 World Cup final between the Netherlands and the then Federal Republic of Germany.
The Dutch were supposedly instructed to have sex the night before. Having scored in the first minute (so to speak) they flagged. The Germans, ordered to abstain, triumphed, courtesy of two late goals.