Huffpost Sports

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright Headshot

World Cup Abstinence: Is It the Best Strategy?

Posted: Updated:

Who will win the World Cup may not come down to what's happening on the field, rather what's happening off of it. With Italian researchers finding that levels of testosterone are higher in people having good sex, sports analysts worldwide are debating whether or not footballers should have ample amounts of sex this summer.

With testosterone important to athletic performance, it has been routine for coaches in most sports to ban their players from having sex the night before the big match up. So worrisome is the prospect of players expending energy that some World Cup coaches are having the pay-per-view channels at their hotels switched off. Teams like Croatia have a "nothing acrobatic" rule when it comes to players' private time.

The coaches' logic: players conserve energy and boost their aggression for a stronger athletic performance. Plus, they avoid the psychological strains that can come with an unsatisfying sexual encounter or a couple not getting on well.

But new research indicates sex may actually do footballers well before a big game. Italian scientists have suggested that the increased levels of testosterone that come with sexual activity may actually lead to higher rates of aggression the next day -- improving one's athletic performance.

Add to this a study, out of the College of St. Scholastica, confirming that sports performance was not impaired the morning after sex, and it seems sex during the World Cup should be encouraged. For some teams, it is. With sleep vital to performance, and sex helping one to sleep, Argentina's team doctor has said that players can have sex on a regular basis -- as long as they go to bed early.

Still, many coaches aren't willing to roll the dice. With the psychological effects of sex on the eve of a match untested, the impact of it on one's concentration looms as a possible threat. Not only is sex off-limits for many teams, but wives and girlfriends are banned from getting near the players as well -- a rule met with little protest. Personal pleasures simply can't complete with the cosmic, collective climax that can only come from winning a World Cup match, or can they? Weigh in on if abstinence is the best strategy at my website at

From Our Partners