Can Bicycling Affect a Woman’s Sexual Health?

Could this be the reason Amsterdam needs a Red Light District?

I realize this sounds as sensational as a National Enquirer headline, but Can Bicycling Affect a Woman’s Sexual Health? is the actual title of a recent New York Times article by Anahad O’Connor.  With all of the bicycling that women do here in Amsterdam it got me thinking.

According to the article, spending time on a bicycle seat, may be as hazardous to a women’s sexual health as it has been proven to be to male erectile dysfunction.

The article states:

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.

In the latest study, the Yale researchers tried to determine whether there are specific factors that influence soreness and numbness among female riders. Forty-eight women took part in the study, each a consistent rider who cycled a minimum of 10 miles a week, but typically much more.

The women took their personal bikes and saddles into the lab. The researchers mounted the bikes on a stationary machine, and had the riders position their seats and handlebars according to their preference. As the women pedaled, they reported whether they felt soreness, numbness or tingling as a result of sitting on the bike seat, and a device was used to measure sensation in the pelvic floor.

Notably, it was the position of the handlebars that seemed to have the most effect. Women on bikes with handlebars positioned lower than their seats experienced more pressure in an area of soft tissue called the perineum, and had decreased sensation in the pelvic floor.

The researchers found that the lower the handlebars in relation to the saddle, the more a woman has to lean forward, forcing her to put a greater percentage of her body weight on the perineum. This problem is particularly likely to occur when a rider leans forward, flattens her back and puts her hands on the “drop bars” of a road or track bicycle for a more aerodynamic position.

In light of this, Amsterdam women don’t have anything to worry about.  Their handlebars are located perfectly, resulting in great posture and thus they should not worry about losing any sensation whatsoever.  So then, why do men frequent prostitutes here in Amsterdam? Hmmmm…

 

 

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