Playing a game of football has been found to give a boost to men’s testosterone levels – helping to increase their sex drive.
Scientists discovered players had a 30 per cent leap in the sex hormone immediately after a football game.
And even an hour after they had finished playing, their testosterone levels were still 15 per cent higher than normal.
Footballer who played in forward roles in the matches tended to see the biggest boost, regardless of their age, the study found.They studied farmers in the remote Tsimane tribe in Bolivia because men there generally have much less testosterone.
Tsimane men maintain a stable amount of testosterone across their lifespans and show little incidence of obesity, heart disease and other illnesses linked with older age.
Similar increases have been shown in men living in the U.S. and other industrialized nations following sporting competitions.
And it may go some way to explaining why so many famous footballers get caught up in sex scandals, such as married Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, 38, who had affairs with model Imogen Thomas, 29, and his sister-in-law Natasha, 29.
Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, 31, also reportedly cheated on his singer ex wife Cheryl, 28, with five girls. Married ex-England captain John Terry, 31, slept with team-mate Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Perroncel, 30, while Wayne Rooney cheated on his wife Coleen with a prostitute.
Ben Trumble, an anthropology graduate student at the University of Washington who co-authored the study, told Science Daily: ‘Maintaining high levels of testosterone compromises the immune system, so it makes sense to keep it low in environments where parasites and pathogens are rampant, as they are where the Tsimane live.’
Mr Trumble and his co-authors organized a football tournament for eight Tsimane teams.
The rise in testosterone levels suggests that competition-linked bursts of the hormone are a fundamental aspect of human biology that persists even if it increases risk for sickness or infection.
Michael Gurven, co-author and anthropology professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, added: ‘What’s interesting is that in spite of being in a more pathogenic environment, it’s still important to raise testosterone for short-term bursts of energy and competition.’