There are some uncomfortable truths about cycling that often cannot be avoided. Saddle sores, urinary infections and period dramas can plague our ride, and yet we persevere and pedal on through it. Unlike these afflictions where there are many tips and tricks, creams and products to help alleviate symptoms, what can you do about sexual dysfunction?
Saddles aren't the most comfortable of perches for your undercarriage, and whether you're a man or woman, it can cause a number of issues like numbness, bruising and even discomfort when passing water.
Our genitals are a complex system of nerves and soft tissue and there's a lot going on down there for both genders. It's commonly believed that the pressure and friction which builds up from sitting on a saddle can damage the nerves which are responsible for sexual function and the ability to achieve orgasm.
With the growing popularity of cycling, researchers in the US decided to investigate whether there was any credibility to the link between sexual dysfunction and cycling. The American Urological Association and the Urology department at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine carried out a study on over 4,000 male cyclists and 2,700 female cyclists.
The results showed that female cyclists have a higher chance of developing a UTI, but that urinary symptoms were no different from women who participate in other activities. In fact, the research showed that female cyclists actually have higher scores in sexual function.
As for male cyclists, sexual dysfunction and urinary symptoms were no worse for cyclists than runners or swimmers. They also noted that cyclists have a higher average sexual health score than the other athletes.
The result of the study shows there is no increased risk of sexual dysfunction or urinary health issues from cycling - hooray!
Of course, there are a number of ways to make your ride a little more comfortable, like having a suitable pair of chamois shorts to absorb vibration, reduce friction and cushion your undercarriage. For some cyclists, investing in a chamois cream is invaluable whilst other riders prefer nothing at all.
In conclusion, cycling not only has no impact on sexual dysfunction but results show a cyclists' sexual health is greater than athletes in other sports.