London: Having sex the night before athletic competition may have positive impact on performance, suggests new research.
These results are surprising, considering the common view that abstinence from sexual activity can boost athletic performance.
"Abstaining from sexual activity before athletic competition is a controversial topic in the world of sport," said lead study author Laura Stefani, Assistant Professor of Sports Medicine at the University of Florence, Italy.
"We show no robust scientific evidence to indicate that sexual activity has a negative effect upon athletic results," Stefani said.
For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, the authors sifted through hundreds of studies with the potential to provide evidence, however big or small, on the impact of sexual activity upon sport performance.
After setting a number of criteria to filter out the most reliable of these studies, only nine were included in the review.
One of these found that the strength of female former athletes did not differ if they had sex the night before.
Another actually observed a beneficial effect on marathon runners' performance.
"Unless it takes place less than two hours before, the evidence actually suggests sexual activity may have a beneficial effect on sports performance," Stefani said.
The authors concluded that because the current evidence debunks the long-held abstinence theories, athletes should not feel guilty when engaging in their usual sexual activity up to the day before competition.