You Don’t Want to Peak Too Soon: Sex & Running
I spend a lot of time thinking about and talking about sex. My friends joke about how easily I engage in sex-related conversation topics and they may be just a little bit jealous. Now, before you starting jumping to conclusions or closing your web browser before your significant other, your roommate, or your children walk into the room, I should tell you that sex and sexuality are my areas of academic study. Through my research in education and Women’s Studies, I examine the role of sexuality education in schools, as well as the social construction of sexuality in general. Thus, it was rather inevitable that I spend a bit of time thinking about the intersection of sex and running, right? Heck, even if it wasn’t a part of my job, I spend quite a bit of time running, and we’ve all had interesting conversations with ourselves or with friends while out on a run!
Not surprisingly, there is a fair amount of information out there talking about sex and running in the same sentence…I know you’re shocked that “sex” is a significant topic on the internet, right? Interestingly, the same debate I spend a great deal of time deconstructing professionally, that of abstinence-only sexuality education vs. comprehensive sexuality education, seems to play itself out in the running world as well.
There are studies that talk about abstaining from sex before a race (or other form of significant physical exertion), both as a ritual and as an act of preserving energy. There are also studies that talk about the benefits of sex for running and the benefits of running for sex. I was especially taken by the http://www.canada.com article entitled “Running Can Make You A Sex God” 🙂 I could go on about how the comfortableness around sex implied in a title like that is a direct result of socialized medicine and an educational system with a much more comprehensive approach to sexuality education, but I’ll save that argument for another time.
The various competing rumors about how many calories sex (and related activities) burns should also be mentioned. As a general rule, runners are more physically fit and care more about their health and diet. Thus, the combination of pleasure and calorie-burning happens during running and sex!
In addition, running (and exercise in general) tends to help prevent impotence in men, and runners tend to be more fit and have a better self image and are thus more eager to have sex. Regardless of the science, the overall psychological effects also seem to indicate that a healthy sex life and a healthy running program can go hand-in-hand quite nicely (forgive the pun!).
So, if you are apprehensive about a healthy orgasm before you toe the line, just remember how much you care about your health- it really is for the best!