Love, Sex and Football:


The three entities have the miraculous ability to work in perfect harmony and most men live in the hope of one day finding the meticulous balance; however the three can work in a vicious circle, fight for dominance and lose you one or the other. Leicester supporting Kasabian are notorious for releasing what become football anthems, think Club Foot and Fire; yet I think when they released LSF (Lost Souls Forever), another football anthem, they had their three priorities in mind, love, sex and football.

The link between sex and football is found in the wider pool of semantics, sex and sport. The two physical activities have often been linked, whether positively or negatively and its origin can be traced back to Ancient Rome and/or Greece.

Remaining in a state of abstinence before a sporting competition dates back to Ancient Greece and Rome according to Sports Scientists; Ancient Greeks believed strongly that sexual activity would drain energy due to its physicality, lower testosterone through the act of ejaculating and reduce aggression in men, again due to the perceived loss of testosterone. The famous Greek philosopher, Plato, first cited the two together in dicussing Olympic champion, Ikkos of Tarentum.  Ikkos prepared for the Olympics by eating large quantities of meat and cheese, but restrained from sex worrying it could threaten his strength and aggressive edge. Since then, the idea that sex can impair sporting prowess and ability has provided a split of views for debate among athletes and professionals.

There are good practical examples to support the view that sex can inhibit performance. Rocky Marciano was the only boxer of the heavyweight class to retire undefeated. Marciano starved himself of love-making in the months running up to a fight. Furthermore, Muhammad Ali, who won 92% of his fights, claimed he was made to become unbeatable in the ring by avoiding sex for two months before fights.

The view isn’t outdated either, more recently, Manny Pacquiao has stated he doesn’t make love whilst in training; Fabio Capello banned WAGs from the World Cup in 2010 and most recently, during the Rugby World Cup, the French national team were told they won’t be seeing their wives, all bar one night after the Tonga game. The All Blacks attempted to run an “Abstain for the Game” campaign for fans, in support of their national team. Needless to say, the campaign failed, miserably and 92% of votes came back with a “No, are you kidding?” result.

On the flip side of the coin, some bigger, as well as some sexier stars of the game have argued against the theory and more in line with Roman writer Pliny, who believed that sex could improve a lacklustre athlete – and Pliny, who was writing 1992 years ago was right according to scientists and their sexual experiments.

The outcome of the experiment was easy to explain – sex takes up about 50 calories, the same is burned off climbing a flight of stairs, twice. The test showed that, through the use of a professional male and female fighter, physiologically, testosterone levels were in fact higher in both the male and the female fighter after having sex. According to the numbers, the female boxer’s punch had an improvement of 30% in power.

Furthermore, Tommy Boone, an exercise physiologist and author of “Sex Before Athletic Competition: Myth or Fact”, attempted to prove that there is no evidence to support abstinence before a match. In 1995, Boone led a study that challenged 11 athletes to a treadmill test. Some had sex 12 hours before the test and some abstained. Boone registered that there was no difference in performance between the groups.

A man’s body does experience some physiological changes during sex, including a rise in heart rate from 70 to 130 bpm. However, compared to the effort needed during a football match, sex requires less than 25% of the aerobic effort and most importantly, to all you self-anointed stallions out there, it lasts for much less time.

The less scientific arguments against sex before matches comes from our chubby Argentinian friend/enemy, depending on how bitter you are, Maradona and our sumptuous Saturdays singer, Una Healy.

Maradona allowed and even encouraged Argentinian players to indulge in a sex fuelled World Cup last year and their progression as far as the Quarter Finals surpassed England’s sex starved success in South Africa – although both went out to Germany and this may have something to do with the quality of WAGS (see below). This did, however, mean that for Maradona he was effectively whoring his own daughter, Argentinan Striker Aguero’s wife.

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Budding Football journalist who blogs at daily as well as writing here for ThisisFutbol and on the England fan's page. Outside of writing is more football. I work at Southampton F.C and I manage a men's football team on Saturdays.

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