I’m tempted to make a “banana seat” pun right now, but I’ll refrain.
A raft of new studies suggest that cyclists, particularly men, should be careful which bicycle seats they choose.
The studies add to earlier evidence that traditional bicycle saddles, the kind with a narrow rear and pointy nose, play a role in sexual impotence.
Well. We’ll get to the “especially men” part in a second.
The area in question is the perineum, between the external genitals and the anus. “When you sit on a chair you never put weight on the perineum,” Dr. Schrader said. “But when you sit on a bike, you increase pressure on the perineum” sevenfold.
In men, a sheath in the perineum, called Alcock’s canal, contains an artery and a nerve that supply the penis with blood and sensation. The canal runs along the side of a bone, Dr. Goldstein said, and when a cyclist sits hard on a narrow saddle, the artery and the nerve are compressed. Over time, a reduction of blood flow can mean that there is not enough pressure to achieve full erection.
In women, Dr. Goldstein said, the same arteries and nerves engorge the clitoris during sexual intercourse. Women cyclists have not been studied as much, he added, but they probably suffer the same injuries.
So… why should “particularly men” be careful? That’s right, because women haven’t been studied as much, even though we might suffer the exact same injuries.
Why am I not surprised? The fact that it may cause sexual dysfunction in men garners a dozen studies and a two page article in the New York Times; the fact that it may cause sexual dysfunction in women gets one sentence. The rest of the article discusses the health effects for “cyclists,” all of whom, apparently, are proud owners of progressively limper penises. And before anyone starts accusing me of being anti-man, I’m not saying in any way that the article shouldn’t have been written or that the studies shouldn’t have been done. I’m glad they were; now I know not to date bicyclists*. It’s a big deal that a common recreational activity could lead to impotence and sexual performance problems, so I’m happy to see it’s being covered. I just wish they would have included the ladies, too. We like our wee-wees to work as much as you like yours to.
And as a final, general bitching point, I’m sick of women getting the short end of the stick on all the sexual dysfunction studies and solutions (and medical studies in general, but that’s another post). Guy has trouble keeping it up, drug companies pour millions into creating Viagra and other similar drugs. A substantial percentage of women have never orgasmed in their lives, and they get… I dunno, KY, to at least make the process less painful? It’s a crock.
UPDATE: Well, not everyone is ignoring women’s health. But, seriously, Crisco? Thanks to Jess for the link.
*Just kidding, numb-nuts.