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Sex and Running

You can look at the topic of sex and running with two questions:

  1. How does running affect sexual activity?
  2. How does sexual activity affect running?

Question #1 – How does running affect sexual activity?

To answer this question,

  • you have to consider the amount of running, and
  • you have to identify the activity (or non-activity) against which you are comparing the activity of running.

For example, too much running — no matter whether the runner is a man or a woman — can lead to excessive fatigue, which can negatively affect one’s sex life.

As another example, some research suggests that men who run regularly may have a lower incidence of erectile dysfunction than men who bicycle regularly, presumably because of the danger of bicycle seats on the male anatomy and physiology.

Dr. Harvey Simon wrote about sex and stairs at The New York Times website in 2009. But he was writing about using stairs as a fitness tool:

Even today, cardiologists tell heart patients they are fit enough to have sex if they can walk up two or three flights [of stairs] comfortably…

Here are two highlights from his article:

  • People who climb stairs burn calories two to three times faster than people who walk spryly on level ground.
  • If the mortality rate of men who are sedentary is X, then the rate for men who walk 1.3 miles daily is 78% of X, but the rate for men who climb eight flights of steps daily is 67% of X.

How often do you climb stairs? Perhaps more important, how often do you run up stairs?

Another fact worth considering: Going for a run can attenuate depression in some people. Given that depression is often connected with decreased libido, you can see that running can be good for one’s libido.

Question #2 – How does sexual activity affect running?

Any runner who is accustomed to regular sexual activity would be disrupted by following the abstention advice in a centuries-old recommendation to avoid sexual activity just before an athletic event such as a race. Apparently this advice was based on the now-disproved notion that sexual activity right before an athletic event would lead to a loss of vital bodily fluids that could not be replaced in time for the event.

In contrast, because sexual activity can have a soporific effect, and because sleeping fully is so crucial for athletes, there is evidence to suggest that moderate sexual activity the night before a race can be good for a runner — as long as the runner gets an “early start” with the sexual activity!

 
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