Gameday: Sex or Abstinence?

We don't really need to write a caption for this one, do we?
There has been a myth circulating for decades that sex before the game can rob an athlete of energy. It was reported that Muhammad Ali would abstain from sex for months before a fight to avoid anything that would rob him of his energy and aggression in the boxing ring. That's the myth as there is no medical evidence to suggest that sex before competition is bad.
Research shows that during ejaculation, men release a cocktail of brain chemicals, including testosterone, norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, nitric oxide (NO), and prolactin.

Testosterone - Sex before an athletic event may even increase the testosterone level in men. Testosterone is the male hormone response for strength and power and is prohibited in most sports if it is taken by injection or in a pill form.

Norepinephrine - is a stress hormone, it affects parts of the brain, such as the amygdala, where attention and responses are controlled. Along with epinephrine, norepinephrine also underlies the fight-or-flight response, directly increasing heart rate, triggering the release of glucose from energy stores, and increasing blood flow to skeletal muscle. It increases the brain's oxygen supply. As a neurotransmiter it also regulates cognition, sleep, mood and devolopment of depression.

Dopamine - as a chemical messenger, dopamine is similar to adrenaline, and we all know what adrenalin is for. Dopamine affects brain processes that control movement, emotional response, and ability to experience pleasure and pain. Regulation of dopamine plays a crucial role in our mental and physical health.

Serotonin - plays an important part in the regulation of learning, mood, sleep and vasoconstriction (constriction of blood vessels). Experts say serotonin also might have a role in anxiety, migraine, vomiting and appetite. For some types of cells, serotonin is a growth factor - it may have a role in wound healing.

Oxytocin - the hormon of happiness. It is sometimes referred to as the "love hormone". There are some evidence that oxytocin promotes 'tribal' behaviour, combining trust and empathy with the in-group with suspicion and rejection of outsiders. Helps you to be more attached to your team.

Vasopressin - regulation of water, glucose, and salts in the blood. Plays an important role in social behavior, bonding, ect. 

Nitric oxide - an important cellular signaling molecule involved in many physiological and pathological processes. It is an important regulator and mediator of numerous processes in the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems.

Prolactin - provides the body with sexual gratification after sexual acts: The hormone counteracts the effect of dopamine, which is responsible for sexual arousal. This is thought to cause the sexual refractory period. Prolactin levels are naturally higher during sleep, this suggests a strong link between prolactin and sleep, so it’s likely that the hormone’s release during orgasm causes men to feel sleepy. But this sleepy feeling doesn't last for long, as we all know.

All these hormones that make you healthy and relaxed can only benefit your performance. Also, during sex, emotions that you are experiencing are getting out, and by getting them out from your body and mind, you are making space for the more important things. 
It is scientifically proved that there are no bad sides in having sex night before the game, and this stands for both men and women.

Kristina Fruza, 
Interactive Sports Psychoanalyst 
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