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You are about to participate in the finals of your club tennis tournament, one of the biggest games in your life. You are considering having sexual intimacy the night before the match but are fearful that it will zap your energy when you need it most on the court. What should you do? In this article I will explore the myths associated with sex before the big game and provide you with advice for your next "match".

There has been a myth circulating for decades that sex before the big 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. There have been studies that show just the contrary: 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.

Another myth is that sex the night before an athletic event can make an athlete tired and lethargic the next day. However, this myth has also been disproved and sex before an athletic even has no impact on strength and endurance. Sex however can affect a man or women's emotional well-being. For example, if the sexual encounter leads to anger or emotional discord, there can be a negative impact on the ability of the man or woman to focus on the athletic competition. This is probably the reason that players on football and baseball teams are kept together in hotels away from their spouses or significant others and are given curfews before big games.

There is ample evidence that disproves the idea that sex the night before competition has a tiring effect on the athlete or that it could weaken the athlete's muscles. Sexual intercourse is not a very rigorous activity. The amount of calories that are burned during love making with a regular partner is only 50-100 calories, which is about the same as a brisk ten minute walk.

There are now studies that show that sexual intimacy release endorphins, which are the most powerful pain killers that can relieve aching muscles and joints. Thus sexual intimacy can be a source of relaxation and even a nice sleep aid helping the athlete relax and fall asleep easily.

Finally, there is the less well-understood relationship between sexual activity and anxiety about the athletic event. Ideally, there should be an optimal level of alertness and anxiety that is necessary to produce the best possible athletic performance. An excess of anxiety may result in poor performance. Perhaps sexual intimacy can be a pleasant distraction helping the stressed athlete relax before going to sleep the night before the athletic contest. Bottom Line: Sexual activity before an athletic event is probably not a distraction. It is an old wives tale that sex before an athletic event impacts athletic performance. So perhaps a little roll around in the hay the night before the big game will put a medal around the neck the next day.