Sex before any sports competition is widely considered as a possible cause for reduced performance since ancient Greece and Rome.
But a new study has challenged the widely held practice of restraining sportsmen from sex, saying sex before sport can actually boost performance.
Nonetheless the benefits can only be realised if sex is avoided for two hours before the competition.
Lead author of the report, Laura Stefani, an assistant professor of sports medicine at the University of Florence, Italy, said the topic is a controversial one in the world of sports.
“Abstaining from sexual activity before athletic competition is a controversial topic in the world of sport,” said Stefani.
‘We show no robust scientific evidence to indicate that sexual activity has a negative effect upon athletic results.'”
“In fact, unless it takes place less than two hours before, the evidence actually suggests sexual activity may have a beneficial effect on sports performance.”
The study concentrated on only relevant scientific articles reporting outcomes of athletic performance after sexual activity were considered.
Dr Stefani, however, expressed disappointment at the lack of existing research on the subject.
“We clearly show that this topic has not been well investigated and only anecdotal stories have been reported,” she said.
The report noted that male athletes were investigated more than women with no comparison of the effects across genders.
The study did not draw a conclusion on the effect of masturbation on sports performance.
The research concluded that the data available do not really support the misconception that sex activity can produce a negative effect on the athlete’s performance.
“Future investigations should clarify in greater depth some specific aspects related to ethical, gender and sports differences,” the report added.