April 4, 2012

WE ALREADY KNEW IT WAS BAD FOR MEN: Can Bicycling Affect a Woman’s Sexual Health?

Spending time on a bicycle seat, which has been linked to erectile dysfunction in men, may also be a hazard to a woman’s sexual health, a new study shows.

Many women who cycle or take spin classes are familiar with the numbness that sometimes can occur from sitting on a traditional bike seat. Bike seats are designed in such a way that body weight typically rests on the nose of the seat, which can compress nerves and blood vessels in the genital area. In men, this raises the risk of erectile dysfunction, something that has been documented in studies of male police officers on bicycle patrol.

But female cyclists have not been studied as closely. A study by Yale researchers in 2006 found that female cyclists had less genital sensation compared with a control group of female runners. As a result, some scientists believe that female cyclists probably are at similar risk for sexual problems as male riders.

And yet the traditional seat design persists.

UPDATE: Prof. Joseph Olson recommends the Moon Saddle bike seat: “I’ve got 10,000 miles on a group of these. I can ride with nylon shorts without greasy chamois.”

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