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The Tokyo Olympics installed anti-sex cardboard beds, and athletes are ready to test them

It’s time to look at this with SCIENCE.

The Tokyo Olympics have already been working overtime to try and stop athletes having sex in the Olympic village, limiting their traditional condom dispensation out of fear of a Covid spread. But this latest move is a little further, and a tad more extreme.

Photos went viral over the weekend of the beds, posted by U.S. Olympian Paul Chelimo, who said the cardboard beds would pose to problem for lightweight distance runners.

Creating bone-proof cardboard beds for athletes has to be a real balancing act. Obviously you want the cardboard to be strong enough to support a variety of frames, from lightweight gymnasts to hefty weightlifters — but with breakaway capabilities to ensure the beds are used for sleeping, and nothing else.

One person isn’t convinced though. Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan is calling the anti-sex beds “fake news,” posting a video of him jumping on the bed and showing that it wasn’t breaking.

Now we’re entering the territory of some serious bunk de-bunking. One man jumping on a bed and two people having sex are very, very different things. It’s impossible to know exactly how much force McClenaghan put on the bed without knowing his weight, but it’s widely accepted that male gymnasts rarely weight more than 165 pounds.

So, let’s operate on the high end of the scale here. We’ll assume McClenaghan weighs 165. Now, the maximum force he exerts on the bed isn’t from landing, it’s actually his takeoff. It appears his half-hearted jumps are roughly a 24” vertical, with his legs at a 75 degree takeoff angle. When I plug this information into a dunk calculator it tells me that McClenaghan put 479.1 pounds of force on the bed on his takeoff.

So we know the beds don’t break at that level of force, but that could still mean that they’re sex proof. Now look, I’m not going to get too granular with this — so I used that same dunk calculator to try and simulate sex. It feels weird putting a “desired vert” into a dunk calculator for sex, but here we are. Let’s make it a pretty athletic session, and say 8 inches of vertical movement being applied to two athletic bodies with a combined weight of 350 pounds.

We find that the amount of force generated from this simulated sex is an astonishing 1,273.3 pounds. Almost three times what McClenaghan put on the bed when he was jumping solo. There is absolutely no question that two bodies moving a small distance vertically is vastly more than one moving considerably more.

Considering these are mass-produced beds that likely went through testing, it’s entirely plausible they were given a force rating of 1,000 pounds. This would be enough to accommodate an athlete sleeping, tossing, turning, and even jumping — but ensure they would collapse when two athletes got busy.

Don’t blame me, this is just science. Right now nobody knows if the anti-sex beds are really intended to be anti-sex, but we’ll know the result in a couple of weeks. Assuming athletes are willing to share photos of their exploded beds.