It's a long-held myth that athletes should refrain from sex before a competition, for fear of exhaustion or a lack of testosterone. Nearly all scientific studies agree that there's no danger, but the belief persists. To that end, managers for a number of countries have banned their players from having relations with loved ones (or otherwise) at the World Cup.
Citing public statements, we've broken up the World Cup field into those nations that will be celibate and those that will be boning like bunnies. It'll be fun to come back and look at this list once the tournament's over.
Limited or No Sex
"Forty days of sexual abstinence is not going to hurt anyone," said manager Miguel Herrera. To be fair, El Tri are just three years removed from crashing out of the Copa America after kicking eight players off the team following a hotel party with a group of prostitutes.
The Mexicans may not be too bummed when they crash out of the World Cup; Herrera has also banned players from consuming red meat or alcohol while in Brazil.
Manager Jorge Sampaoli, taking a page from his predecessor, has banned his players from sex at this World Cup. And to avoid temptation, wives and girlfriends aren't even allowed in the team hotel.
La Roja have long banned sex before matches, with significant others allowed to visit only on off-days.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
"There will be no sex in Brazil," warned manager Safet Susic. But he's not unreasonable: "They can find another solution, they can even masturbate if they want."
The German national team reportedly has "a strict ban on sex before matches," though wives and girlfriends are staying at a separate hotel. The same hotel as the Swiss team, as it turns out. On learning the news, Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka "grinned wolfishly and promised to take good care of them."
Wives and girlfriends will not be headed to Brazil, reportedly against the recommendation of the team psychologist.
A team official says it's taken for granted that players will "live an ascetic life."
(Mostly) Unlimited Sex
Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari will not ban players from sexing, but asks that they keep it "normal"—and promises to keep tabs on them.
"The players can have normal sex during the World Cup," he said. "Usually normal sex is done in a balanced way but some like to perform acrobatics. We will put limits and survey the players."
Sex for the Socceroos! "With everything we need to do in camp," said coach Ange Postecoglou, "I don't think those things are of primary importance."
The team has no official rules on sex, but players are allowed to spend free time with their families. However, an assistant coach says there won't be much free time.
Roy Hodgson has yet to hand down official rules regarding relations, but he rescinded invitations to wives and girlfriends for the team's World Cup tour. They can still travel independently, but will be barred from spending time with players except on specific days. There is hope, though; coaching Switzerland in 1994, Hodgson initially banned sex altogether before changing his mind just before the tournament.
For the first time, wives and girlfriends have been invited to stay at Italy's training camp.
This marks a radical change from the past, when sex bans were the rule, even if they weren't enforced. In 2002, manager Giovanni Trapattoni caught the wife of one player inside the team hotel. She had snuck in by wearing a media credential. "If you're here as a reporter, get out now." Trapattoni supposedly told her. "If you're here as Vincenzo's wife, here's his room number."
Yes—with a "but."
"It all depends on when, how and how much," said French manager Didier Deschamps. "I don't want them to be cut off from the outside world."
Sex, but only in wedlock. Wives can attend the tournament; girlfriends cannot.
Sex on, you sex-having Americans. Jürgen Klinsmann will not set social rules for his players, declaring that "we are very casual in the way we approach things."
Unknown Amounts Of Sex
We don't know about the players, but 40 percent of Croatian men polled said they would rather give up sex for a month than not watch the World Cup.
The status of this year's side is unknown, but Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama is advocating free love.
"If we'd had sex during the World Cup, it would've been better," Valderrama said. "We would have relaxed after games - especially after defeats. It's total relaxation. "It's not an impediment. It should be quiet, cool, without inventing crazy poses."
Unknown. Manager Luis Fernando Suarez banned sex as the Ecuador coach in 2006, and announced the rules applied to everyone, including him. "That's good," one reporter said. Retorted Suarez: "No, it is not good…It is not good at all."
The 2010 squad was allowed to have sex, but not to stay out all night looking for it. "Players are not Martians," the team doctor said.
Unknown, but manager Fabio Capello handed down an absolute sex ban to his England side at the 2010 World Cup.