Wise Guys – What's Up with the Sex-Sports Connection?

photo by Gil Searcy

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “What is the connection between sports and sex with guys? For instance, why were certain World Cup teams prevented from having sex while others are given the green light? Is there a connection between testosterone and the thrill of sports?” To ask the guys your own question, click here.

Straight Single Guy (Tom Miller): I was probably 13 the last time I participated in a sporting event of any importance and my parents really frowned upon prepubescent sex, but I’m a huge fan of sports, so here goes. Some old school coaches and trainers maintain a Samsonian belief that a guy takes his eyes off the prize when sex is involved. Seeking any kind of edge, they think that a “backed up” athlete will play with a chip on his shoulder. There’s actually a football player who puts Tiger Balm on his junk to get angry before games. The irony is that a guy gets a jolt of testosterone after he B’s his L (ejaculates). Suffice it to say, there is a huge connection between sports and testosterone. Competition and us-vs-them, especially when “us” wins, really gets the old Adrenal gland secreting. In other words, if a guy wins, he’s going to be really in the mood to have sex.

anonymous_suitStraight Married Guy (Matt): The notion that abstinence before a sporting event gives you an edge — whether it’s a wives’ tale or not — runs very deep. In boxing and kickboxing it’s pretty much an accepted fact, and many people abstain for 4-6 weeks before a fight. My coach claimed that the concept was “scientifically proven with racehorses,” but I never bothered to confirm this with a more reliable source. The thing is, if winning’s important to you (and never is it more important than when losing means having your head kicked in), you will do anything to get an edge. I personally felt like I had an edge when I abstained. I’m not sure if it was psychological, but I wasn’t about to test the theory and risk losing that edge, imagined or not.

In any case, sometimes it was actually a little bit nice to be in a bar and not to have to even think about hooking up. Lots of fighters talked about the fact that women seemed more attracted to them when they were abstaining. Some claimed it was pheromones or some such thing, but I think it was just the dialed-back level of desperation to hook up that made them seem more attractive and approachable.

terence_100Gay Committed Guy (Terence): I’m no “sporty spice” so my views should be taken as whimsical conjecture at best. There is indeed a connection between sports and sex with guys — particularly in gay porn, but I believe that’s another topic. In the sports world they keep a certain amount of tension between desire and abstinence which seems to promote a testosterone-driven focus which is then richly rewarded after the victory with “babes” and booze. A kinky carrot-on-a-stick approach to be sure, but call it what you will, I’m not convinced women as rewards for the victors is the right road to be going down.

Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors. Tom Miller writes the Tomfoolery blog for YourTango; Terence is an American living in Sydney; Matt is a little shy. To ask the guys your own question, click here.


  1. Clearly athletes should practice tantric sex. Make love repeatedly before the big game, but don’t let yourself come.

    Now if we could get football fans to go for tantric sex before the big game, women would learn to love the sports season.

  2. Guys can become aggressive pricks in the(involuntary) absence of sex. But that takes a long time to kick in, and also causes a loss of focus and motivation, and causes depression. So I don’t see the benefit.

    But let’s say it IS beneficial to your athletic life to abstain from sex. Unless you’re a pro athlete making tons of money, what the fuck are you doing? Improving your stats in the company softball league?

  3. Interesting question! The modern Anglo/American ideals of athleticism were a byproduct of something called “muscular Christianity,” which in turn was an initiative to try and save men’s health by helping them avoid not just masturbation and not just “nocturnal emissions” but also heterosexual married sex!

    Accepted medical opinion had it that “as many as” twelve penis-in-vagina ejaculations a year could lead to premature aging, insanity, tuberculosis, and even death. Masturbation, of course, was even worse.

    It’s not just the U.S. India’s ayurvedic traditions lean strongly towards not just temporary abstinence for athletes but lifelong celibacy.

    I suspect that in sports where overall commitment and discipline is beneficial adding sex to the mix might add to one’s competitive edge. And sex has traditionally happened a) late at night and b) in the presence of performance-hampering substances such as alcohol, tobacco, etc. But I’m pretty sure there’s no remotely credible research linking sexual activity itself with diminished athletic performance.


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