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5 Ways sex helps athletes perform better

Of all the records being broken in South Korea right now at the Winter Olympics, the number of condoms being distributed to athletes was an unexpected one. 110,000 condoms were handed out to all 2,925 competitors at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, meaning each person was given about 37 condoms.

This rather sexy Olympic record gives an indication that a lot of sex is being had in the Olympic village. But hang on, didn't Muhammad Ali always preach to abstain from sex before hitting the ring? Well, researchers have been looking into it over recent years, and turns out that a sweat session in the bedroom before sweating it out on the field/slopes/ring might actually have a host of benefits.

"Unless it takes place less than two hours before, the evidence actually suggests sexual activity may have a beneficial effect on sports performance," says Laura Stefani, an assistant professor of sports medicine at the University of Florence, Italy, who specialises in the topic. "We show no robust scientific evidence to indicate that sexual activity has a negative effect upon athletic results."

So here are 5 good reasons explaining exactly why a romp before the comp is a good idea.

1. The female orgasm can combat muscle pain

The nerve stimulation women feel during sex is proven to dull and even entirely eliminate pain, because the part of the brain triggering pleasure is also responsible for the feeling of pain. So if you're feeling your knee flaring up again, or are agitated by the crick in your neck, you know what to do...

2. It'll help get your head in the game

For both men and women, having sex can increase your prolactin four times its usual amount, meaning you'll have a sense of calm and the ability to focus better. It helps before an event when you need to be able to approach the competition well-rested, focused and in an optimal frame of mind.

3. You'll probably be faster and stronger

Many athletes and a handful of studies state that sex and even just masturbation improved their overall sporting performance, including increased strength, speed and agility.

4. It'll produce more testosterone in men

Despite the myth that testosterone will be depleted after having sex – with testosterone translating to the aggression necessary to give you the winning edge in sports – this isn't the case at all. A lack of sex actually leads to lower testosterone levels, while having sex boosts testosterone production in men, giving them an athletic advantage.

5. It'll calm the nerves

Because – let's face it – sex is great. What better way to feel good about yourself and take your mind off the event than by enjoying the simple pleasure of getting down and dirty with someone.

Of course, most of the time it's as much about the psychological state of the athlete as it is about their physical condition. Therefore, if sneaking off to another athlete's room will lead to emotional hang-ups or cause you to stay up late and leave you stressed about not having enough sleep – then it's probably not a good idea. But aside from that, it looks like the athletes at PyeongChang know what they're doing...