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Here's How All That Sex Might Affect Olympic Athletes

Because you know the Olympic Village is lit.

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In case you missed it, there is a lot of sex that goes down at the Olympics.

Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP / Getty Images / Via gettyimages.com

Which makes sense. These are athletes who have been training relentlessly for years to prepare for some of the most important competitions of their lives. Now, they can finally — literally — see the finish line. And they're shacking up with thousands of other like-minded individuals who happen to be particularly gifted when it comes to strength, flexibility, and endurance.

They're gonna have sex.

The International Olympics Committee reportedly even provided 450,000 free condoms for this exact scenario.

Buda Mendes / Getty Images / Via gettyimages.com

Which also makes sense, especially considering that Zika, while uncommon during the winter months in Rio, can be sexually transmitted if someone is infected. Not to mention all the other great reasons to have protected sex.

So with all of this action going on, is it possible that sex can affect someone's athletic performance?

BBC / Via prostheticknowledge.tumblr.com

To find out whether or not orgasms can screw with (or, hell, improve) your physical performance, BuzzFeed Health talked to sports scientist and Olympic training coach Mike Young, PhD, director of performance and research at Athletic Lab, and sports psychologist Stephen Graef, clinical assistant professor at Ohio State University. Here's what they had to say:

There are lots of superstitions surrounding sex before sports.

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Especially for men. "A lot of it comes down to this notion that a man's vigor is in his sperm, and the theory would be that by abstaining from sexual activity you somehow keep testosterone high or even increase it," says Young. "That's completely refuted by the research."

In fact, research shows that testosterone levels typically increase after sex for both men and women. So sex before a big event could actually give you an acute advantage, says Young, though it wouldn't spill over to the next day.

Another belief is that sexual frustration could lead to increased aggression, which could be beneficial in certain sports. But it doesn't look like there's any research to back that up either.

Obviously this is a hard thing to study, but the research so far hasn't found any widespread negative implications for banging before a big event.

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A recent review of all the research on sex before sporting events found that getting busy the day before a competition doesn't seem to hurt you.

One study did find that having sex within two hours of an event could impact recovery time, but outside of that, sex didn't harm an athlete's concentration or performance.

But it really comes down to individual differences in how people respond to sex.

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For some, sex could be a welcome distraction, a stress reducer, and a pregame ego boost, explains Graef. For others, it could leave you anxious, tired, and mentally drained.

It'll probably also differ depending on whom they're hooking up with, the sport they're about to play, and if they're literally competing against this person the next day, says Graef. Hey, it could happen.

A recent study by Young found that we have a self-fulfilling prophecy when it comes to sex before sports.

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"We found that the biggest indicator was your preconceived notion of whether or not it would impact you," says Young.

The study, commissioned by Adam & Eve, included 11 male and 10 female collegiate or national-level track and field athletes. They surveyed the athletes' perceptions of having sex or masturbating before a competition, then recorded their actual performance and whether or not they'd had sex in the last week.

"The takeaway we found was that your own moral code or perception of what will happen will likely happen," says Young. Athletes who thought they should be abstaining were more likely to see a negative impact on performance if they'd recently had sex or masturbated, while athletes who thought sex would benefit them were more likely to see a positive impact on performance after getting laid. Huh.

But even though ~sex~ might not screw with an athlete, other stuff might — like staying out all night, drinking, smoking, etc.

Flickr: whitehouse

Rumor has it the Olympic Village is lit. So we're not talking about having sex with your spouse here — we're talking about sex with someone you probably just met and who may or may not speak the same language as you. If you were out late meeting this person, had a few drinks, and stayed up all night with them, that can affect you physically and mentally regardless of whether or not you had sex.

So what does this mean for us non-Olympic athletes who also sometimes have sex before a big workout?

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Again, it's all up to the individual, says Graef. There are plenty of reasons sex could help your gains — like an acute rise in testosterone and a decrease in stress hormones.

But if you're someone who prefers to roll over and go to sleep after you get laid, then yeah, you probably don't want to do it before you hit the gym.

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