Does Sex Affect Athletic Performance? Here's What The Latest Research Says

Does Sex Affect Athletic Performance? Here's What The Latest Research Says

Many athletes abstain from sex before major sporting competitions because they (and sometimes their coaches) are worried that getting it on might have a negative impact on their performance. For instance, British boxer Carl Froch recently abstained from sex with his spouse for three months while preparing for a major fight. Froch actually held out twice as long as famed boxer Muhammad Ali, who reportedly *only* abstained for six weeks before fights. Likewise, Mexican soccer coach Miguel Herrera encouraged his players to avoid sex while they prepared for the World Cup in 2014.

So should other athletes take a cue from these guys? Is there any truth to the idea that sex and sports don't mix?

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Why Abstinence and "Purity" Pledges Don't Work

Why Abstinence and "Purity" Pledges Don't Work

In the United States today, 37 states mandate that information on abstinence be provided in sex education courses. As you might imagine, it’s not uncommon for students to be asked to take “purity” or virginity pledges as part of the sex ed. curriculum in these states. 

Students are encouraged to take these pledges in order to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections, but also to prevent unwanted pregnancies. As it turns out, however, abstinence pledges don’t necessarily accomplish either of these goals. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family suggests that they might do just the opposite!

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The Trump Administration Doubles Down On Abstinence-Only Sex Education

The Trump Administration Doubles Down On Abstinence-Only Sex Education

The Trump administration recently released its proposed budget for 2019 and, just like last year, it seeks to ensure that sex education in the United States remains focused on abstinence. Specifically, this administration seeks to fund abstinence-only programs to the tune of $150 million. I've said it many times before, but it bears repeating: focusing sex education primarily on abstinence just doesn’t work.

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What “Counts” As Sex To Gay, Lesbian, And Bisexual Adults?

What “Counts” As Sex To Gay, Lesbian, And Bisexual Adults?

Research has found that there’s a lot of variability when it comes to what people define as “sex.” Perhaps not surprisingly, this means there’s a lot of variability when it comes to how they define “abstinence,” too. This only makes sense because, after all, these things go hand in hand: when people don’t think a certain intimate activity “counts” as having sex, they may consider themselves to be abstinent no matter how many times they’ve done it. For example, a lot of people don’t think oral sex counts, so they may say they’re abstinent despite the fact that it’s something they regularly do.

Though several studies have looked at people’s definitions of sex and abstinence, pretty much all of them to date have focused exclusively on heterosexual persons. This begs the question of how gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults define these terms.

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The US Government is Poised to Move Backwards on Sex Education

The US Government is Poised to Move Backwards on Sex Education

In the final budget proposal submitted by the Obama administration last year, funding for abstinence-only sex education was put on the chopping block. They proposed eliminating abstinence-only programs entirely and, although it didn't ultimately come to pass, their proposal at least showed recognition of the fact that we need a new approach to sex education in this country. Study after study has shown that promoting abstinence only just doesn’t work. In fact, if anything, it seems to be counterproductive. For example, research has found that the U.S. states with the most abstinence-only programs actually have the highest rates of teen pregnancy [1]!

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10 Things You Should Know About the Sex Lives of American Teenagers

10 Things You Should Know About the Sex Lives of American Teenagers

Popular media articles on adolescent sexuality usually paint a portrait of the modern American teenager as hypersexual. Among other things, these articles give the impression that teens are having sex at younger and younger ages, they’re constantly hooking up and sexting, and they’re engaging in a lot of risky sexual behavior, thanks to a diet of highly sexual movies and TV shows. By contrast, scientific research on the sex lives of adolescents suggests a very different set of conclusions. Here are 10 things you should know about the sex lives of American teenagers, according to science.

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Infographic: How College Students Define Abstinence

Infographic: How College Students Define Abstinence

What does it mean to be "abstinent?" It depends who you ask. Sex researchers have found that there is incredible diversity among college students in terms of how they personally define the term abstinence. While students largely agree that one can be abstinent and still engage in kissing, they are pretty split over whether someone who is abstaining can still engage in activities like sexual touching and oral sex. Even more fascinating is the fact that students do not necessarily even agree on whether abstinence precludes the possibility of vaginal and anal intercourse! In fact, it appears that, for some folks, the key factor that determines whether a given behavior "counts" is whether an orgasm occurs. Check out the infographic below for a closer look at the research.

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The Problem With Abstinence Pledges

The Problem With Abstinence Pledges

In the U.S. today, 37 states mandate that information on abstinence be provided in sex education courses. In those states, it is not uncommon for students to be asked to take “purity” or virginity pledges as part of the curriculum.

Students are often encouraged to take these pledges in order to both reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections and to prevent unintended pregnancies. As it turns out, however, abstinence pledges don’t necessarily accomplish either one of these things. In fact, a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Marriage and Family suggests that they may do just the opposite!

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Teen Pregnancies Are Falling, But No Thanks To Abstinence-Only Sex Education

Teen Pregnancies Are Falling, But No Thanks To Abstinence-Only Sex Education

According to a new report from the CDC, the number of teenagers giving birth is at its lowest point in the last 15 years. In fact, between 1991 and 2014, there was a whopping 61 percent drop in births among U.S. women aged 15-19!

This decline occurred among women of all racial backgrounds, although it was even more pronounced for racial minorities than it was for White women.

In light of this trend, many people are wondering why—who or what should be credited with decreasing the teen pregnancy and birth rates so much?

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Funding for Abstinence-Only Sex Ed May be Eliminated From the Federal Budget

Funding for Abstinence-Only Sex Ed May be Eliminated From the Federal Budget

In President Obama’s proposed budget for 2017, he has eliminated all funding for abstinence-only sex education in the nation’s public schools. Whether this will ultimately come to pass is far from certain, though, because any budget must be negotiated with and approved by Congress before it can go into effect. However, from a scientific perspective, Obama’s proposal is definitely a step in the right direction.

The United States government has reportedly spent more than $1.5 billion on abstinence-only sex education over the past quarter-century, and we have little to show for it. Study after study published in reputable, peer-reviewed journals has revealed that this type of sex education is woefully ineffective and, instead, may actually be counterproductive.

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Frightening Facts About Sex Education In America

Frightening Facts About Sex Education In America

Sex education is incredibly inconsistent throughout the United States. Some states require it, others don't. And in the states that mandate it, the information teachers are required by law to provide doesn't necessarily have to be useful, let alone correct. The fact of the matter is that American sex education is in poor shape and this is a big part of the reason why our teen pregnancy and STI rates are among the highest in the industrialized world. Check out the infographic below for a look at some frightening statistics about the current state of sex education in the U.S.

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Does Sex Affect Athletic Performance? (VIDEO)

Does Sex Affect Athletic Performance? (VIDEO)

Many athletes abstain from sex before major sporting competitions out of fear that sexual activity might negatively affect their performance. For instance, it was recently reported the British boxer Carl Froch has been abstaining from sex with his wife for three months while preparing for a major fight. In fact, he even made it a point to sleep in a separate room every night to reduce temptation! Likewise, Mexican soccer coach Miguel Herrera has been encouraging his players to avoid sex as they prepare for the World Cup. So should other athletes take a cue from Froch and Herrera? Are sex and sports really a bad combination? Check out the video below from ASAP Science for the answer.

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What Counts? College Students' Definitions Of Abstinence (Infographic)

What does it mean to be "abstinent?" It depends who you ask. A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior finds that there is incredible variability in people's personal definitions of the term abstinence. While people almost universally agree that abstinence allows for kissing, they are split over whether activities such as sexual touching and oral sex are permitted. Interestingly, people do not even agree on whether abstinence necessarily excludes the possibility of having sexual intercourse! Check out the infographic below for more information.
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How Important Is It To Have Sex Before Marriage?

In a recent piece on Salon entitled “My Virginity Mistake,” author Jessica Ciencin Henriquez talks about how an abstinence pledge ruined her marriage. In her words: “Without having sex before marriage, I blindly walked up an aisle and committed myself to a man who didn’t know me and gave my long-held virginity to someone with whom I had no more chemistry than a second cousin.” The crux of her piece is that sex is too important to a relationship to save it for the wedding night and that couples need to establish sexual compatibility before tying the knot. In light of this article, I thought it would be worth taking a look at what the science has to say on this topic. Does your sexual satisfaction and chance of relationship success really depend upon when you start having sex?
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Will Having Sex On The First Date Kill Your Relationship?

A new study published in The Journal of Sex Research has concluded that the sooner a couple starts having sex, the lower the quality of their relationship. Perhaps not surprisingly, several media outlets have picked up on this and are publishing headlines along the lines of “First-Date Sex May Harm Couples.” However, a closer look at the research reveals that both this study and another one that came out earlier this year suffer from the same set of limitations and, in actuality, they really tell us nothing about the effects of early sex on relationships.
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