Scientists are shedding light on some of the most prevalent rumors about sex, making it clear that what we hear and read is not always true.
There are plenty of rumors, inaccuracies and absurd stories about sexual performance circulating out there, especially in the Internet age. Thus, two American experts, Dr Aaron Carroll and Dr Rachel Vreeman from the Medical School of the University of Indiana decided to enlighten the truth based on scientific findings.
Shoe size can predict penis size
This particular myth is somehow derived from science, but it is not absolutely true. Hox genes contribute to the development of the limbs, e.g. fingers and toes, as well as the penis and clitoris. If the same mechanism is hidden behind the development of feet and the penis, does it mean that this myth is true? “There is no strong scientific evidence to substantiate this,” say the experts.
A Canadian study carried out in 1993 with the participation of 63 men showed that there was no strong connection between the men’s shoes size and the size of their penis. The same was the conclusion of a Korean study six years later. In 2002, another study conducted by the hospitals belonging to University College London, UK, and based on a sample of 104 men, found no correlation between foot size and penis length.
The sex “diet”
The myth that sex helps in weight loss is widespread. However, as the American experts said, sex cannot be considered an effective “diet” by itself, unless the sexual intercourse is happening for a prolonged period of time, at a hectic pace and in a position which activates several muscle groups.
“Sex could be considered a moderate-intensity physical activity, but the average sexual act lasts only five minutes. This could correspond to burning 25-125 calories”, explain the experts.
A recent study at the University of Quebec, Canada, which was published in the journal «PLoS ONE», showed that men burn an average of 4.3 calories per minute of sexual act compared with 3.1 calories per minute for women. The “sex experiment” took place with the participation of 21 heterosexual couples aged 18-35 years. With the help of mobile devices, scientists were able to track their caloric consumption during sexual intercourse.
As the average duration of the act was 25 minutes, men seemed to have burnt around 101 calories, while they could burn 276 calories during the same time spent in the gym. Women, on the other hand, seemed to have burnt just 69 calories versus 213 calories on the treadmill. However, despite the results of the experiments, all participants stated to prefer to “exercise” in the bedroom than in the gym.
Oysters are aphrodisiacs
Since ancient times, with the Venus emerging from a shell, and Casanova, who allegedly consumed approximately 50 clams for breakfast, shellfish have been associated with aphrodisiac properties.
“To date there is no evidence that eating oysters really enhances libido. But it is rich in zinc, which contributes to healthy sperm,” say the American scientists.
Neither oysters nor dark chocolate, which has earned the title of “natural” aphrodisiac, are directly linked to increasing libido.
“Chocolate is known to be rich in flavonoids, which have strong antioxidant properties. Several studies have linked the consumption of dark chocolate with the regulation of blood pressure and improved blood vessel function,” say the experts.
Chocolate also appears to trigger the release of serotonin and phenethylamine, natural chemicals that enhance mood and hence the desire for sexual intercourse.
Only the levels of concentration in athletes seem to be affected by sex before competitions, argue Dr Carroll and Dr Vreeman.
“Generally there is a belief that sex one night before a crucial competition restricts the power, concentration and testosterone levels in athletes. In fact, however, according to the mechanisms of the organism that are activated during and after sex, athletes might do better if they have sex before a competition,” they explain.
In ancient Greece it was believed that the athletes who want to win an Olympic title should abstain from sex, in addition to intensive training and special diet. The ‘god’ of boxing Muhammad Ali abstained from sex for at least six weeks before a fight. However, experts say that at least physically, sex rather helps the performance of athletes.
A Canadian meta-analysis from McGill University, which was published in the journal «Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine», showed that athletes who had sex one night before an athletic event showed higher testosterone levels than those who did not have sex. The same was confirmed by a recent study by the University of L’Aquila in Italy.