However, sex does not seem to hinder an athlete’s performance as previously believed. This was evidenced in a 2022 meta-analysis in Scientific Reports composed of nine studies where researchers found that engaging in sexual activity (including sexual intercourse and masturbation) anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours prior to a physical fitness test had no influence on participant test results. This remained true across different types of exercise assessments, including those that tested for aerobic capacity, musculoskeletal endurance, or muscular strength or power.
That being said, the researchers acknowledged that there were a number of limitations to the research, particularly around participant bias. Additionally, most of the studies were conducted with a small number of participants, all of whom were young adults and the majority were male. The researchers also noted that future studies would be best served by using more accurate athletic performance measures that go beyond assessments to include specific participant racing times.