Sex… Not during your presentation (obviously?) but before it.
Back at the start of 2006, researcher Stuart Brody, a psychologist at the University of Paisley, reported his research into sex and stress. 24 women and 22 men kept a diary about their sex lives – how much and what kind – for two weeks. And at the end of the fortnight the were given a number of high-stress activities to carry out. One of them was doing mental arithmetic out loud and one of them was public speaking. (If you’re interested in the details of the stress-test, do a quick google search for the “Trier Social Stress Test”.)
Here’s the good news. People who’d had ‘traditional’ (penis-vaginal) sex were, overall, less stressed by these activities and their stress levels returned to normal more quickly. And what’s more, there was a relationship between how much sex people had (or at least how much they reported) and these measures. The obvious implication is that sex before presentations is good for you.
[jbox color=’blue’]I’m not suggesting, by the way, that you should have sex instead of preparing for your next presentation, but if you’ve got the opportunity to do both, take it! ;)[/jbox]
It’s important to notice that it’s traditional, penis-vaginal, sex that has the benefits. Other types of sexual activity weren’t as helpful – in fact in subsequent related research it turned out that some other things were actually counter-productive.
Even better news is that it looks like the effects of sex are relatively long-lasting: you don’t need to have sex the morning of your presentation to feel the benefits. This might be because of the hormones involved having a relatively long lasting effect… and there’s a lot of follow-up research going on (not just personal, obviously, but proper science-based research! 🙂 )
While we’re at it, the National Health Service in the UK reports this and other benefits of sex here. It turns out that sex has a whole range of positive outcomes (as well as being a positive experience in and of itself, of course!). Unfortunately you still need to do some other form of exercise to get your weekly heart-rate bursts. And, as this article in The Times of India points out, having sex just as a stress relief isn’t what sex is all about! And just before you think you’ve got it sorted out in your head, this article about sex before big events (such as sports) just gets confusing! That’s perhaps not surprising in the light of research (here) which finds that
- there’s no link between sex and perceived work stress
- much of the research suggesting their is needs to have better techniques
In short – I’d say it’s up to you! And your partner, of course.
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