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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2022 Jul 11

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.22.14022-3


language: English

The effect of pre-match sexual intercourse on football players’ performance: a prospective cross over study

Tal PELEG-SAGY 1, 2, Lior ZELLER 2, 3, Yonatan PERELMAN 2, Lukasz BORTNIK 4, Tomer MAMAN 2, 3, Iftach SAGY 2, 3, 4

1 Beer-Sheva Mental Health Center, Be'er-Sheva, Israel; 2 Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be'er-Sheva, Israel; 3 Department of Rheumatology, Soroka University Medical Center, Be'er-Sheva, Israel; 4 Clinical Research Center, Soroka University Medical Center, Be'er-Sheva, Israel

BACKGROUND: Current research suggests that pre-competition sexual intercourse does not influence athletes' performance. Yet, high quality studies in this field are scarce.
METHODS: We aimed to investigate whether sexual activity negatively influences physiological performance. We conducted a prospective cross over study, which enrolled active players from the first team of a football club in the Israeli Football Premier League during the 2018-19 season. We gathered participants' physiological performance using GPS driven data per match. In addition, we assessed sexual activity the night before using telephone interviews at the end of every match. We used a linear mixed models methodology, accounting for each player as a cluster.
RESULTS: We enrolled 14 participants who participated in 88 football matches. The mean age was 29.7 (±3.8) years and the majority were in permanent relationships for longer than six months (78.6%). We identified sexual intercourses the night before the match in nine (10.2%) cases. The average speed during the match was slower when participants had pre-match intercourse (6.5 vs. 6.0 Km/h, p=0.02). The results remained consistent when using linear mixed models analysis adjusted for age, for previous belief that a pre-match sexual intercourse may affect match performance and for player as a cluster (p=0.02, 95% C.I -0.85 - -0.07). Other parameters were not associated with pre-match intercourse.
CONCLUSIONS: To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to show that sexual intercourse the night before a football match may have a negative influence on players' performance.

KEY WORDS: Sexual intercourse; Football players; Physiologic performance

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