To ban or not to ban was the question that national soccer associations faced when they sent teams to Brazil for the ongoing World Cup tournament. Only four countries imposed a ban on sex, eight allowed it and four gave conditions when is sex allowed.
The prohibition is a common belief in the world of sports, which Time attributed to ancient civilisations like Greece where people thought that the strength of men came from their semen. The belief persisted through the centuries that boxing icon Muhammad Ali abstained from sex six weeks before a fight.
However, some studies indicated otherwise. According to Emmanuelle Jannini of the University of L'Aquila in Italy, studies said that testosterone increases after sex, while three months without sex - which some athletes practice when in competition - causes testosterone level to drop dramatically to a level similar to children's level.
The article also insisted that indulging in sex won't exhaust sportsmen since lovemaking only burns 25 to 50 calories, similar only to the calories burnt when a person walks two flights of stairs, which is a small amount compared to the other strenuous activities athletes engage in.
Sports experts also believe that engaging in sexual activity could have a positive effect on a sportsman. "If athletes are too anxious and restless the night before an event, then sex may be a relaxing distraction," opined Ian Shrier, sports medicine specialist at McGill University and author of a 2000 review of 31 studies on sex and sports.
Juan Carlo Medina, general coordinator of Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico's sports department, cited as an example the national soccer team of The Netherlands that competed in the 1978 World Cup games in Argentina. The wives of some players accompanied the team, which won second place.
He also cited the example of soccer icon Pele who admitted that he did not abstain from sex with his wife before a match.
While the matter is still considered debatable, taking into account individual or national beliefs, at least in the case of fans or supporters of national soccer teams, they have the freedom to withhold sex in support or indulge in sex marathons after a victory as two porn stars have recently done.