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Go ahead and score: Pregame sex has no effect, doctor says

No matter who loses Calgary's Grey Cup on Sunday, they won't have their wives or girlfriends to blame. Despite years of arguments to the contrary, having sex before the big game has no effect whatsoever on an athlete's physical performance.

"It certainly doesn't fatigue you in any particular way. So if we actually test your strength or your endurance the day after you've had sex, there's no effect," says Ian Shrier, a sport-medicine physician at the Jewish General Hospital at McGill University, who has surveyed the research.

While many athletes and coaches have traditionally been in favour of abstention, the consensus now is that if an athlete thinks a little pregame nookie will help, then feel free.

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At a press conference earlier this week, the head coaches of this year's Grey Cup teams addressed the question of whether or not their players would be having pre-game sex.

"We have played well recently here of late and so I'm going to ask them to be consistent in their approach to how they work the night before," said Ken Miller, head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"We're going to keep the same regimen as we kept last year, and that is to leave it up to our coaches to make that decision for themselves," said Marc Trestman, head coach of the Montreal Alouettes.

Proponents of abstention maintain that sex before an athletic event lessens an athlete's aggression. Muhammad Ali reportedly ceased all sexual activity for six weeks before a fight. World-class runner Marty Liquori once put it this way: "Sex makes you happy. Happy people do not run a 3:47 mile."

If anything, it's thinking about sex too much that might hurt an athlete's chances.

Former New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel summed it up like this: "It's not the sex that wrecks these guys, it's staying up all night looking for it."

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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