Should You Cum Before a Workout?
Article written by Maya Vukovska
Sport folklore is abundant in stories about athletes being banned from having sex before an important game or a certain sports event. For decades, fierce coaches have been echoing the claim that sex before a sports activity makes the players perform lousily on the pitch. But not only coaches believe that “hanky-panky” before a game drains one’s strength. Some athletes, too, are convinced that skipping sex betters their performance. Like the Huston Astros’ pitcher Justin Verlander, for example, who admits to never having sex before OR after a game. But the scientific evidence against and in favor of that claim is still inconclusive. If you are an avid gym-goer yourself, you may be asking yourself the same question: Does sex before a workout affect your athletic performance, and should you abstain from cumming before exercise?
Тhe belief that sex has a negative effect on athletic performance wouldn't have been so persisting if there wasn’t any truth in it. First of all, we need a broader definition of sex than just “having an orgasm”. As a rule, the topping partner has a bigger workload during the intercourse, and that, of course, leads to more tiredness and muscle soreness than if he is bottoming.
And then, there’s the duration of the act. Depending on the position and the partner (or the lack of one!), sex can last anywhere from a minute to a couple of hours. So, unless you are a member of the rock band Rainbow, we doubt that you can make love to someone “all night long.”
The historian Warren R. Johnson was the first to explore the idea about man’s strength, visualized as semen, carrying testosterone out of the body, thus making it weaker. In 1968, he published his study “Muscular performance following coitus.” What the guy did was to use a hand dynamometer, a simple trip meter, really, to measure the endurance of the biceps and hand muscles in ten men after they had sex the previous night and after they didn’t. And he found no difference in the results whatsoever.
The most credible explanation behind the myth is the frustration-aggression hypothesis. The reason why coaches give such anachronistic advice is that they actually believe in a cause-and-effect sequence of events: Not being able to properly cum, the athlete gets sexually frustrated. Then, his body transforms this frustration into a go-get-them-tiger attitude toward the opponent. If he, however, has satisfying sex before the sporting event, he loses his edge and desire to win.
The hard data, biochemistry-wise, does not suggest a solid reason to fast from sex before sport. The leader of a 2018 study, Gerald Zavorsky from the University of California at Davis, suggests that, contrary to the common-spread belief, few calories are blown during sex. Also, the energy you put into sex is not enough to exhaust the glycogen, i.e. the muscle’s fuel stores. One thing is for sure, though - no one knows for sure what happens if you have a little fun some 30-60 minutes before a game or a workout at the gym. Testosterone levels go up and down because of certain activities, and sex is just one of them.
It’s less about sex and more about the circumstances sex happens in. If you are out drinking and doing drugs the night before your usual workout and then you end up going home with some stud you’ve picked up at the club, don’t expect to have a feel-good training session with a satisfactory result. Your poor performance won’t be caused by the sex itself, but the lack of enough sleep and the substances you used.
Sex is a powerful self-esteem boost. And a person with high self-esteem always performs better at everything - be it work, social life, the gym, or the playing pitch. So, to the question of whether abstinence is the key to the perfect workout, our answer is: Stop hearing the stern voice of your college swimming coach and crank the heat before hitting the gym.