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Watching a Soccer Game Is as Good as Sex, Especailly for Men

Update Date: Apr 22, 2012 12:19 AM EDT

Soccer fans, especaily male fans, get as excited watching a big game as they do during a night of love-making, according to a new study.

Scientists from the Netherlands and Spain studied the hormone levels of 50 Spanish soccer fans watching the finals between Spain and the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup and found that levels of sex hormone testosterone and "stress" hormone cortisol soared in male and female soccer fans regardless of their team's success.

Interestingly, however, the increase in cortisol level was more pronounced for dedicated, young, male fans while the increase in testosterone was independent of all these factors,  . 

The authors explained that the testosterone effect is in agreement with the "challenge hypothesis", as testosterone levels increased to prepare for the game, and the cortisol effect is consistent with the "social self-preservation theory", as higher cortisol secretion among young and greater soccer fans indicates that they perceived a particularly strong threat to their own social esteem if their team didn't win. 

The study was published in the journal PLoS One. 

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