Mixed-sex sports

A mixed-sex badminton match
An unofficial mixed doubles match of beach volleyball.

Mixed-sex sports (also known as mixed-gender or coed sports) are individual and team sports whose participants are not of a single sex. In organised sports settings, rules usually dictate an equal number of people of each sex in a team (for example teams of one man and one woman). Usually, the main purpose of these rules are to account for physiological sex differences. Mixed-sex sports in informal settings are typically groups of neighbours, friends or family playing without regard to the sex of the participants. Mixed-sex play is also common in children's sports as before puberty and adolescence, sport-relevant sex differences affect performance far less.

There are multiple dynamics to mixed-sex sports. Where sex differences in human physiology do not play a significant role in a person's proficiency in a sport, then men and women may compete in a single open class, as in equestrian sports. When sex is a major factor in a competitor's performance, sports will typically split men and women into separate divisions, but there may be mixed-sex team variants, such as mixed doubles. In artistic judged sports, these physical differences play a key role in performances, as demonstrated in pair figure skating and acrobatic gymnastics.

Mixed-sex sport events may be organised to achieve certain social aims, such as boosting female participation in sport, as a form of exercise, or to improve social harmony between the sexes.[1]


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