Sumo wrestlers swear off sex completely until they retire; some college coaches impound their male players in local hotels to keep them away from amorous girlfriends. But do most experts believe that the dirty deed saps an athlete's strength? Here's what Washington-area athletes, coaches, and trainers have to say about pre-game whoopee.
Former boxer and manager of Riddick Bowe, former heavyweight champion of the world
“We don't think it's a good idea. In my experience as an athlete, if you're a champion in bed, it tends to take away from your legs. And in boxing, your legs are the basis of your stamina.”
Strength coach, Washington Redskins
“On some individuals, it would have no impact, even up to an hour before the game. On some it would have a positive impact, help relax them....[But some players sleep alone the night before an event] because it takes them a long time to get in the right frame of mind, especially in a game like football. As far as the physiological sense, it having a negative impact because of the expenditure of energy, I'd have to believe that unless the individual is a marathoner and could perform for three or four hours, most athletes at this level would be in good-enough shape that it wouldn't impact their performance 24 hours later.”
Mariah Burton Nelson
Former college basketball player and author of The Stronger Women Get, the More Men Love Football
“If it's true that for men sex equals aggression, then it's bad news for women, at least the women who have sex with men. But for women, sex does not seem to drain our capacity to emerge fully in sports. In fact, many women are energized by sex and at the same time relaxed by it. Thus, it might be a great thing. The message [anti-sex coaches] are sending is that women are bad for you and that women somehow drain your power.”
Coach, Georgetown University men's baseball and women's basketball teams
“Georgetown University is a Roman Catholic institution. This would not be a proper subject for me or anyone else affiliated with this institution to make comments about.”
Athletic trainer, Greenbelt, Md.
“I can't think of any physiological reason why a strenuous activity of short duration would have a negative impact on athletic performance. I suppose if there's some serious, strenuous lovemaking going on, there might be some loss of calories. But it'd have to be pretty serious. Sort of depends on who's doing it.”
World's top-ranked beach volleyball player; two-time Olympic gold medalist
“In my opinion, it certainly doesn't hurt.”