Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Should sex become an official Olympic sport?

The real games at the 2015 Rio Olympics will not be televised. And there may not be any gold, silver, and bronze medals awarded, but this unofficial sport is the one that many athletes most eagerly look forward to participating in  It does not take place in any of the main sports venues but mainly in the Olympic Village where most of the athletes are housed and which has as its unofficial motto: "What happens in the Village stays in the Village."

Thus it is not surprising that we know little about what happens in the Village except for stories that have leaked out over the years. Such activity can be measured, however, by the use of condoms. That provides a degree of objectivity, although it may seem shocking to some people.

There are more than 10,000 athletes at the Summer Games and almost 3,000 at the Winter ones of whom an estimated 70-75% engage in sexual activity. Much of this activity involves one night stands with people who they may never meet again, although in the rarefied atmosphere of the Olympics where only the best can compete this is hard to fathom.

Condoms have been used during the Olympics for a long time, but it was not until Barcelona in 1992 when condoms were offered free to Olympians to encourage safe sex during the games. In Sydney 2000, officials thought that 70,000 (rainbow) condoms would be enough, but after a week they had to send out for 20,000 more. In 2004 in Athens, 130,000 were brought in.

In Beijing 2008, authorities distributed 400,000 condoms to more than 400 hotels during the Olympics, although some claim that only 100,000 were provided for athletes. In Vancouver 2010, 100,000 were distributed, but only about 40,000 were for those staying in the athlete villages in Vancouver and Whistler. How many of them were actually used is impossible to know, but we can assume that they were.

In London 2012, the number of condoms had increased to 150,000, while in Sochi 2014 100,000 were distributed in the medical facilities, although not at McDonalds as myth has it. Now, in Rio, 450,000 condoms are available. That is enough to provide the more than 10,000 athletes with about 40 each to cover the 16 days of the games.

Don't forget, these are the best athletes in the world. They are a group of mostly single, insanely buff young men and women. They come every corner of the globe, and some are very far from home.They are lodged in a private enclave known as the Olympic Village with no nosy reporters and parents around.

Some of them are very young, For example, the Canadian team consists of more than three hundred men (40%) and women (60%) ranging in age from 16 to 56. Most are single. Many of them are participating in their first Olympics, while some have been there several times already.

All of hem are incredibly healthy. They have been training hard for many months, with little or no time left over for any other activities. And they have lots of pent up energy, which is no wonder when they consume 9,000 calories per day while in training. At the end of the day, and especially when their events are over, they need to do something with all that energy.

Their bodies are beautiful and as fit as they will ever be. They meet others who are equally beautiful and fit, They get pumped up with nervous excitement and competitive spirit over several days of Olympic events. Sponsors throw myriad parties, and supply all the alcohol they want. Thus the question is: will 450,000 condoms be enough?

Hooking up has become easier through social media. During the two weeks of the Rio Olympics, the athletes do not even need to talk in person to get acquainted, they just need to use their Tinder app in order to arrange a rendezvous. It is reported that the use of Tinder has already increased 129%, and this is only for the Olympic Village. It is widely assumed that most of these meetings are not just for coffee.

Many athletes have reported high levels of sexual activity at the Olympics. One theorized, "Athletes are extremists. When they’re training, it’s laser focus. When they drink, it’s 20 drinks." They are young and known to do everything to excess. They compete to their maximum and they play equally hard.

The idea of refraining from sex before competitions dates back to ancient Greece and is also found in traditional Chinese medicine. Both suggest that abstinence could increase frustration and aggression, and boost energy. On the contrary, recent studies have shown that sex had no significant effect on athletic performance.

Thus the myth that athletes should abstain from pre-competition sex can finally be put to rest. Current thinking in elite sports is that athletes should act in ways they consider "normal" and not do anything that goes against their beliefs, which might induce guilt, Then engaging in sex any way may have a negative effect on athletic performance.

The organizers of the Olympic games would be remiss if they did not encourage safe sex. The rest of the world may not be aware of all this sexual activity, but they should not condemn it too loudly. These are the best athletes that their countries produce and they want to participate in every aspect of the games, even the unofficial ones. Many religions might reject many of these activities, but what can they do to prevent it?

Muslims might nix the alcohol and the mingling of the sexes, but they should not prevent their young people from attending the games. Christians might be a bit more lenient about alcohol, but they are equally adamant in their condemnation of extramarital sex. What can they do?

The Rio Olympics are even more dangerous than most. Brazil is infamous for its permissiveness on sexual matters, but this year the Zika virus adds an extra element of danger.  No doubt, the athletes are well aware of this, but it probably won't deter them. After all, most are young and fool hardy, and very few are pregnant.

I will not repeat many of the stories of sexual escapades that make the rounds every Olympics. They would not serve any purpose except perhaps a prurient one. The objective evidence is enough to indicate what is happening: a lot of sex.

Faster. Higher. Stronger. That is the official motto of the Olympic Games. But now a new word might have to be added: Sexier. Sex is a normal part of life. Young athletes need to let off steam after the intensity of months of training and the stress of their events. So, what is more natural? Parents may not approve, but what can they do?

So, let's be glad that sex is not (yet) an official Olympic event, but it is an unofficial one and perhaps the most enjoyable one of all for the athletes involved. Those who deny that such activities take place at the Olympics are burying their heads in the sand. Denial does stop such activities. On the contrary, such an attitude may encourage young athletes to engage in more sex.

I hope we don't see a sex Olympics any time soon, but sex at the Olympics is unstoppable.

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