Given that sex is basically an intimate form of cardio (not to mention a great team sport!), you would think that you should refrain from bedroom activities before you hit the gym, so you can save your energy. But a new study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine claims that’s simply not the case.
“Sex has been deemed taboo for athletic performance going back to ancient Rome and Greece, as the act of sex was thought to promote ease and a sense of relaxation,” the paper’s abstract reads.
Maybe that’s still true if you do a carnal workout right before hitting the treadmill—after all, sex makes you sleepy, and men like to cuddle afterwards too—but you’re in the clear if you do it the night before.
The researchers asked 12 healthy, physically active men between the ages of 25 and 30 to complete several lower-body strength training exercises 12 hours after either engaging in or abstaining from sexual activity. According to Todd Astorino, coauthor of the study and a professor of kinesiology at California State University, San Marcos, the night-before design of the study was meant to “mimic the timeframe that some athletes may face.”
The results found that having sex did not, as some people believe, weaken their muscle strength. Specifically, the data showed that sex had no impact on peak or average KE, or knee flexion torque. This led the researchers to conclude that “sexual intercourse does not significantly impact lower extremity muscle force, which suggests that restricting sexual activity before short-term, high-force activity is unnecessary.”
As with any study, this one has its limitations. The sample size was very small, and the paper notes that, since sexual activity was reported as opposed to observed, they can’t know for sure whether or not participants completed their, um, assignments. Astorino also told Men’s Health that “there are thoughts that testosterone levels may change before and after sex, and this can alter things like mood as well as performance.”
Still, the study explains why Tinder usage increased by 348 percent during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang this year. If it’s good enough for Olympic athletes, then it’s probably good enough for you. And it sure beats watching TV shows before going to bed, since studies have shown that Netflix is killing your sex life.
And for more on the intersection between sex and fitness, learn the The 30 Ways That Exercise Boosts Your Sex Life.
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