In the mood

时间:2019-03-07 08:01:03166网络整理admin

By Bob Adler SPORTSMEN who need to be more aggressive may perform better if they have sex before they play, say researchers. This turns on its head the widely held belief in sporting circles that players should abstain from sex before an important game. The key is a player’s level of testosterone, the hormone related to both sex and aggression. Testosterone levels are known to be higher in men who are sexually active. Researchers have often assumed that a low sex drive is a consequence of low levels of testosterone, but studies by Emmanuele Jannini of the University of L’Aquila in Italy show that testosterone levels rise after an increase in sexual activity. Jannini measured testosterone in the blood of more than 80 patients with long-term impotence. He found that while the impotent men’s testosterone levels were about two-thirds those of sexually active men their age, they were not low enough to cause impotence. After three months of psychological, mechanical or medical therapy, which did not include hormone treatment, Jannini and his colleagues found a dramatic rise in testosterone levels in the men who were treated successfully. Those who made a partial recovery had a smaller rise in testosterone. But men whose treatment wasn’t successful continued to produce low amounts of testosterone. Because the testosterone level rose with the amount of sexual activity, and was not related to the source of the impotence or the type of treatment, Jannini believes he can sort cause from effect. “It didn’t matter which type of therapy we used, as long as the therapy worked,” he says. “It’s the restoration of sexual activity that raises testosterone to normal levels.” Jannini thinks that in men the body adjusts testosterone levels to match sexual drive to the level of sexual activity, and the same may be true for women. “It’s an adaptive mechanism,” he says. “If a man has sexual intercourse, testosterone causes him to desire the next sexual intercourse.” The lesson that sportsmen can draw from the research is that the decision whether to abstain from sex before a game depends partly on whether the sport requires aggression and partly on the player’s character. “We discuss this each Sunday before the games,” says Jannini. “Some athletes think it’s important not to have it. It’s a matter of the character of the athlete. If he needs to be more aggressive it’s better to have sex,” he says. David Handelsman, a doctor who studies reproductive medicine at the University of Sydney, says the research is thought-provoking and sheds new light on what testosterone does. “This is the first clear evidence in the vexed relationship between male sexuality and testosterone,” he says. “There’ve only been three good, large-scale,