The numbness of the genitals
Numbness often appears as a symptom for compressed nerves and/or reduced blood flow in the perineal area.
Special nerves and blood vessels in the perineal area of men are responsible for the erection. If the blood supply to these is reduced or they are compressed for any extended periods of time, this can lead to reduced sexual performance. This process is reversible, as after a longer period off the bike this process is usually reversed and the usual sexual performance returns.
Caution! The problem can become chronical. Numbness is an alarm signal! Those who listen to their body can minimise the risks so that the positive effects of training prevail. Cycling is a fantastic heart-circulation-training and hence improves sexual performance.
What has science got to say to it all?
Scientific studies have shown that athletes generally suffer less from erectile dysfunction (ED) than non-athletes. Results of several research studies lead to the conclusion that approx. 6 – 10% of all men between 30 and 50 years of age suffer from moderate to severe ED. A very meaningful research study amongst athletes has shown that 1.1% of runners suffer from moderate to severe ED, 2% of swimmers and 4.2% of cyclists. Assuming that the positive effects of cycling are at least comparable to those of running, 3.1% of cyclists experience impairment instead of an improvement, which can be up to critical. But it does not always have to come to the worst – the sexual performance rises and sinks just like the muscle power and endurance. With rising age however, it decreases disproportionally. It therefore makes sense to partake in sports activities, especially cycling, but with care to use an anatomically correct saddle. It would be a real shame if the positive effects were nullified through the use of an incorrect saddle.
Source: (Huang V, Munarriz R, Goldstein I., Institute for Sexual Medicine, Department of Urology, Boston University School of Medicine, 720 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118, USA., Sep. 2005)
Measure the sitbone distance in order to ensure the saddle is not too narrow. The SQlab step saddle concept spreads the body weight according to medical aspects. A maximised seating area ensure the sitbones can bear the majority of the body weight, the perineal area and the pressure sensitive areas of the pubic bone / saddle nose are evenly and relieved.
General tips on numbness:
Ride in a more upright position
Ride out of the saddle more often
Avoid riding with a heavy backpack
More pedal pressure reduced the pressure from the saddle
Reduce body weight – reduces pressure from the saddle
Use a thinner saddle padding
Sit as far back as possible on the widest part of the saddle
Tilt the front of the saddle down slightly
Optimise geometry (Bike fitting)