Spending more than 3 hours a week on a bike could be harmful…
My husband just completed the Joberg2C cycling race – more than 900km of gravel roads and single tracks all the way to the South Coast in nine days. We are currently nurturing blue toenails, swollen ankles, a very sore knee and a few other bruises, but as a sexual health practitioner you can imagine what I am worried about…
Bikes and guys
Men who spend more than three hours a week in the saddle are at much higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction than men who don’t cycle. The reason for this is the pressure on the perineum (the part between the anus and scrotum) when a guy sits on a narrow bicycle seat. The nerves and blood vessels to the penis run through this area and get damaged due to prolonged pressure. This leads to difficulty with getting and maintaining an erection.
Bikes and girls
Very little research has been done on sexual dysfunction in women who cycle. The logic would be that the nerves and blood supply to the genitals of ladies would also be damaged by prolonged pressure on the perineum. This can lead to loss of sensation, decreased arousal and subsequent difficulty with orgasm.
I’m not saying you should burn your bike (and definitely not your partner’s). Exercise is good for your sex life and cycling is a great activity for couples to do together. Having fun together is something that is often missing from a relationship. Here is just a bit of advice to keep the blood flowing…
4 ways to protect your privates
> Make sure your seat is in the right position – if it’s tilted slightly upwards, the pressure on the perineum is increased.
> Although is not great for ergonometry, the more upright you sit on your bike (on the bones and not on the perineum) the better it is for your sexual function.
> Make sure you stand and take pressure off your perineum whenever you can and get off the bike every now and then to get the blood flowing.
> If it’s your own bike, get the right seat. Many seats have been developed specifically to take pressure of the perineum.
If you do experience loss of sensation for prolonged periods after you get off your bike you’re probably causing permanent damage. I know I won’t get you (or my husband) to stop mountain biking, but at least I know a doctor who can help…