By Felix Rendon
If you have Netflix, select the movie Pumping Iron with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and go to minute 10 and 45 seconds… Arnold was on to something, but without even possibly knowing it.
He mentions the pump in the gym having to correlate to the feeling of ejaculating during sex. Now, I’m not saying these two actions are related physiologically, but one might actually be just as important as the other.
Sex, other than reproduction, has many purposes to humans physiologically and psychologically. Whether these purposes for you personally are emotional, or strictly physical, we all experience something similar as human beings when in the act of sex and when we actually ejaculate.
An article released this past April in “Medical News Today”, breaks down 10 physiological benefits of sex, and for each reason shows studies that prove the responses and benefits we get after having a night of makeup sex with our girlfriend, or that one night stand with the girl you met at the bar.
Within these reasons, they back up some theories around the fitness community, or at least theories I have stated to others before on why sex can be one of the most beneficial parts of getting in shape or contest prep.
The reasons range from heart health, stress relief, better sleep, and even a better sense of self-confidence. Out of these benefits, I want to talk about only a few in terms of how sex has a positive effect on performance in the gym, as well as body composition.
First off, let’s talk about performance in bed reflecting performance in the gym. We’ll start with a study that doesn’t even involve sex, but the presence of a female in the gym. We’ve all been there. An attractive girl in the gym who was near you made you up the weight and maybe even the reps, right? There is actually a reason for that. According to a study by Roney, Mahler, and Maestripieri in Evolution and Human Behavior, informal interactions with women raised Testosterone on average by 30%. So without even getting to the part about sex, just interacting with females will make performance in the gym go up due to the hormonal and behavioral changes in men. So keep that in mind. Now, back to the fun. Sex has two physiological benefits that are important to performance as well besides the amount of testosterone increase, which is another post in it of itself. These two benefits being improved sleep and reduced pain.
Sex releases many hormones in the body, especially after ejaculation. Of the many hormones released, two specific ones that improve sleep are oxytocin, which aids in feeling a bond with your partner, and prolactin, which helps you feel at ease and relaxed. The combination of these 2 hormones makes for a recipe of a deep sleep, which is the second most important part of recovery and trying to gain and or lose weight. This deep sleep aiding in recovery helps boost gym performance in order for you to keep hitting the weights hard and not be held back by either soreness or fatigue.
In terms of pain relief, sex releases hundreds of endorphins in the body. You ever get that high off of something where you feel invincible or happy as f***? Yeah that’s endorphins. These endorphins also are the body’s natural painkillers. So maybe instead of that pre-workout to get energy and vasodilation, maybe you should have a quickie to feel good and relieve any pain in the gym to get those extra reps.
Now, body composition and being positively affected by sex might be something that you didn’t realize could be a thing, but from personal experience and pictures—hear me out. Below in the picture on the left I’m about 8 weeks out of my show and looking good, in my opinion, but weight is plateaued. Fast forward 2 weeks and this was the drastic change.
So what changed in the time between these 2 pictures? I had met a girl that I had created a sexual relationship with and that made all the difference. I noticed the changes in my body composition instantly. Within 2 days my plateau had finally come to an end and weight was falling off. I knew that the sex had made all the difference.
Of the many benefits, I knew this had to do with mainly two reasons in terms of benefiting body composition. Sleep, yet again, and the stress relief.
Sleep, as I mentioned before, is second to diet in terms of importance when it comes to fat loss. Getting the proper rest and recovery which sleep aids in is overlooked way too much in the fitness industry. The topic of sleep in the health world could be a college course in it of itself, and for another article to go more in-depth upon. But take note that the better sleep from sex will help you on your road to the shreds. And, if you’re not lucky enough to be having sex, then just go to bed earlier to lose those extra 5 pounds.
Now, the main reason sex helps with getting lean is the stress relief. Stress is the number one killer when it comes to the fat staying on while dieting. Stress releases cortisol in the body which is an estradiol hormone; some people refer to this as a female hormone. (Side Note: Everyone has estradiol hormones, so don’t say it’s a girl hormone, just like women have testosterone, men have estrogen.) Estradiol hormones make the body hold onto water and fat while giving a foggy look to the physique. So I knew going into my 12th week of prep, I would be stressed the f*** out, whether I wanted to believe it or not. After introducing a sexual relationship to my body, the stress went down, along with all the negative hormones with it that kept my plateau going on.
Sex is more than just to reproduce in my opinion. It’s a connection between two people, as well as just straight up fun. It’s something that seems to be so taboo but is the most natural thing us humans do. So, go up and talk to that girl (or guy) in the gym show her (or him) this article, have fun, and get lean.
Hey guys! I am Felix Rendon. I am a student at UT Austin studying kinesiology and nutrition, on top of a few jobs, I run my own online coaching business ‘Felix’s Training and Nutrition’ for competitive and general health athletes. I have a passion for nutrition fitness and have gathered knowledge by research and mentors. On top of this, another hobby of mine is coffee, which I can’t wait to share about as well on Gen-Connect. You’ll be seeing more of me in the coming months on topics of nutrition, training, coffee, and mindfulness. Happy Reading!