At age 40, I recently started training for a marathon. I've never run one before. In fact, I'd never run more than five miles at a time when I started. So I decided to keep a log of my progress, so as not to get discouraged and also to see what I could learn about my body's response to the regimen. The log includes the number of miles I put in, what I ate that day, how much I slept the night before and how I felt, both physically and psychologically. It also includes (and this is why I'm writing to you) whether or not I had an orgasm the night before.
Would you like to hear the conclusions I've drawn? First of all, the number of miles I put in one day has a direct effect on how I feel the next day. (More miles, more tired and grumpy.) Second, food has little effect on me, possibly because I tend to eat a balanced diet day after day. Third, sleep has a direct effect. The more I sleep, the better I feel. (Duh.) And fourth, I've noted a direct correlation between orgasms and the following day's performance. When I don't have one, I do fine the next day. When I do have one, especially with someone else, I do less well.
My question for you: Is there any credence to that old saw about practicing abstinence the night before a big competition? Just to be safe, I'll be taking the night off before my marathon, which is later this month. But I'd like to know for future reference.
Marathon Man: On behalf of the international sports community, I would like to thank you for your contribution to research that began thousands of years ago, in ancient Greece, and continues to this day, every time you put a check in the "Squirt" or "No Squirt" box. You'll be happy to know that your own scientific endeavor has confirmed what the ancient Greeks felt in their bones, which was that releasing precious bodily fluids before a competition - days before, weeks before, it varied - rendered one weak and passive and therefore at a disadvantage when one's opponent came at one with a full load of testosterone at his disposal. For we all know what happened in ancient Greece when one was passive before a full load of testosterone. One got screwed.
But that was then and this is now. Today, most athletes, coaches, trainers and doctors feel that sex has little or no effect on athletic performance. And the effect, if there is one, may be positive, because orgasms actually stimulate the production of testosterone, what I like to call the "Go Ahead, We'll Make More" effect. But try telling that to certain old-school football and boxing coaches, who still believe that letting the sap flow will sap one's strength. Muhammad Ali used to go six weeks before a big fight without hearing the bell ring. Lennox Lewis reportedly went three, so the gap may be closing. But I've heard that several professional football teams require their players to check into hotels, away from temptation, the night before a game, even if it's a home game. Pittsburgh Steelers coaches even conduct room checks.
But they may just want to keep the players from carousing all night. It's not the sex, it's the trawling for sex that can exhaust an athlete. One other point: Football and boxing are sports that reward aggression, whereas marathons are a little more, shall we say, passive. So unless you intend to tackle anyone who gets in your way, Marathon Man, I wouldn't worry about having an orgasm the night before. And should you decide to go ahead and have one, all I can say is, good luck reaching the finish line.
If you prefer Mountain Dew over Squirt, write to: MR. RIGHT, ISTHMUS, 101 KING ST., MADISON, WI 53703. OR CALL 251-1206, EXT. 152. OR E-MAIL MRRIGHT@ISTHMUS.COM.