Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sex...and Running

We at Run Junkie certainly don’t avoid our baser instincts. So we’re turning happily to today’s topic: running and sex. As with many things intriguing, though, there hasn't been a lot of scientists painstakingly studying the topic, so there isn’t too much that can be definitively said about how running affects sex and, possibly more interesting, how sex affects running. But, we certainly won’t let a silly thing called “lack of evidence” get in the way of sharing our thoughts.

In general, the consensus from scientists and athletes (and athlete’s significant others) seems to be: if it feels good, do it, which is good news because for many runners it seems to feel good a lot of the time. Surveys have found that about a third of runners feel that running has improved their sex life, and the vast majority of the rest feel it certainly hasn’t hurt. And there are anecdotal reports that a good run primes the pump for a nice night with a special someone. Of course, there are always exceptions. It may be hard to get excited about getting excited after a monstrous week of miles and work. But that seems to be the exception more than the rule for most runners.

So, running seems to breathe a little life into the sex life. What about sex breathing a little life into running? Well, there seems to be some evidence to support this. A now classic 2000 London Marathon sex survey rang in the new millennium with findings that sex the night before a marathon could significantly lower finishing times. There are a number of possible reasons for this. The one we latch on to is that, as long as it’s not a night of 8 hour Tantric sex, a little bit of gettin’ busy can help an anxious marathoner relax and ultimately sleep more soundly before a big race, which could certainly boost performance. As Lynn Jennings said after winning the 10k national title in 1993: "I found that sex the night before solidifies my core feeling of happiness." And as you know, we all need to work on building our core. Check out these varied pieces on sex and running. Enjoy:

University of California at Santa Barbara (link)
Globe and Mail piece by Sean Davidson (link)
ESPN (link)
Dudley Ladies of the UK (link)
Cool Running Aussie Message Board (link)

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