Maury Z. Levy

Archive for the ‘Gym Psych: The Insider's Guide to Health Clubs’ Category

The Sex Chapter

In Gym Psych: The Insider's Guide to Health Clubs on January 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

[From the book Gym Psych: the Insider’s Guide to Health Clubs, by Maury Z. Levy and Jay Shafran (Fawcett Columbine, 1986)]

They used to call it the broad jump. In 1968, at the Olympics in Mexico City, U.S. jumper Bob Beamon shattered the existing world record with a leap of twenty-nine feet two and one-half inches. Some seventeen years later, the rest of the world is still trying to come close. What was Beamon’s secret? How did he prepare himself the night before the big jump? With sex. Beamon had intercourse the night before. Hell, he screwed his brains out. He was very cool about the whole thing. Afterward, he admitted the sex, and his only comment was, “What do I do now?” Oh, a cigarette usually does the trick, Bob.

There’s always been some mystery, if not confusion,
about sex and sports. Different athletes handled it in
different ways. Muhammad Ali always stayed celibate for
six weeks before a fight. Did it help? Ali thought so. And
it’s hard to argue with his record. But for those of you,
men and women alike, who are more concerned fighting
the battle of the bulge than the heavyweight champ­ionship, there are some things you should know about
sex and athletics.

Sex isn’t all that taxing. Intercourse, even at its most
passionate, burns up about 250 calories an hour. And
unless you’re going for a world record in the sack, it’s
unlikely that you’ll lose more than twenty-five calories,
since the average lovemaking session lasts about five
minutes. (Did you ever wonder who times these things?
And where do they hide?)

To put those twenty-five calories into a gym perspec­tive, you’ll burn off about twice that in your preworkout
warm-up and stretch. For those of you not yet in the gym,
it takes about twenty-five calories to walk up a flight of
stairs. So if your bedroom is on the second floor, you’re
burning just as much energy going as you are coming. So
to speak.

Some athletes fear that sex will ruin their con­centration. Actually, just the opposite might be true. Sex,
like exercise, is a good way of venting stress—of losing a
lot of pent-up negative energy.

You have to know something about how the body works
to understand this. The adrenaline flow, the heightened
blood pressure—the same biological process that gets you
pumped up for sports—also gets you pumped up for sex.

This is where the brain comes in. The brain plays traffic
cop. Once the juices start to flow, the brain sends them to
the areas involved in the specific activity. And since the
body can only concentrate fully on one stimulus at a time,
you’re unlikely to see a man get an erection doing a bench

This bodily flow of one-way traffic also explains why
after what seems like an exhausting workout, most people
still have lots of energy for sex. In fact, while getting those
juices flowing without draining the vital organs, the
workout now becomes a very interesting and very
effective form of foreplay. And there is data, dating back to
Kinsey, that shows the sex drive and sexual frequency of
an athlete exceeds those of the general population.

Lately, there’s been some speculation about internal
stimuli. You might have picked up on this if you watched
the Olympic marathon. Some of the runners interviewed
talked about a mysterious “natural high” that comes over
them at a certain point in the race. Some said it was like a
cocaine high—you just sort of float along, aware of things
outside your body, but Read the rest of this entry »

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