With the summer Olympics just around the corner, sex toy company Adam & Eve was curious to find out. The company collaborated with Olympic coach Mike Young to monitor the sexual habits of 10 female and 11 male athletes, then tracked how sexual activity influenced their strength and speed.
The study was admittedly small, but the findings nevertheless proved surprising, particularly in light of the urban legend alleging sex has a negative effect on an athlete's physical prowess.
As it turns out, frequent masturbation was linked to increased athletic performance, with more than a 10% increase in agility and about a 13% rise in strength. Regular sex with a partner also appeared to give athletes something of a competitive edge, although far less than those who routinely enjoyed solo sex: intercourse, for instance correlated to around a 3% increase in agility.
Athletes who believed sex made them perform better were 68% more likely to yield higher performance results after boinking on the reg, Refinery29 reported. Young thinks these results were amped up by something akin to a placebo effect: basically, if sex makes the athletes feel more powerful, then the results mimic that effect.
"An individual's perception is the same as their reality," he said in a press release. "Similarly, if an athlete feels like sexual activity impairs their athletic performance then it probably will."
If sex is linked to increased athletic performance, then maybe it's a good thing Rio de Janeiro is being flooded with condoms. Slate, citing Brazilian media, reported the 2016 summer games will offer athletes 450,000 condoms, which comes out to 42 condoms per person, according to CNN. Any Olympic couples looking for pregame coitus to relieve stress and boost self-confidence will have plenty of protection at hand (or, alternatively, they can use their hand, should they opt to go at it solo).