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Cycling and Impotence(23 posts)

Cycling and Impotenceupandcomer
Sep 29, 2002 7:45 PM
My local newspaper recently ran an ad on the front page stating that young male cyclists are 30% likely to become impotent. While I think that figure is probably high and one study on impotence isn't absolute proof, the figure still worries me. I'm in my 20's and even though I use a "sperm saver" saddle and don't feel numbness, I wonder if doing bi-weekly 5hr rides is going to cause a serious problem for me in a few years. I love riding, but lately I've been wondering whether cycling is really for me, and whether the gains of cycling outweigh what I possibly have to lose if I keep doing it. Does anyone out there have any proof to contradict all the impotence/cycling connection studies? Are there maybe any doctors out there that could help shed some light on this topic? Any feedback would be appreciated.
Reams of stuff on this onlinecory
Sep 29, 2002 8:22 PM
Bicycling magazine (back when you could stand to read it) did the first consumer story on this eight or 10 (?) years ago. There have been conflicting studies since, but the underlying mechanism--pressure leading to nerve and artery damage--seems plausible. Ed Pavelka, a veteran cyclist and writer, did an essay on it several years ago that I'm sure you could find online, and I've read others that reach different conclusions: It does, or it doesn't, or it sort of does but the benefits of being in shape outweigh the damage... Hard to say, and it's hard for an individual to tell what's going on. I have to admit I can't (blank) the way I did when I started cycling more than 30 years ago, but I was 24 then and I'm 57 now. No way to separate all the possible causes.
re: Cycling and Impotencefbg111
Sep 30, 2002 5:36 AM
A friend of mine who is a triathlete and PhD in Sports Physiology says yes, it is a problem, over a long period of time (10, 20, 30 years). Basically, if you use a saddle that pressures the soft tissue, especially that tissue behind your organs (both men and women), then over time you can destroy nerves and blood vessels that lead to the important parts. But if you buy a saddle that's comfortable to you, and especially ones with cutouts down the center (Koobi I think specialises in those), then you should be alright. It's all about sitting in such a way that all the pressure is on your sit bones and none on your soft tissue.
re: Cycling and ImpotenceDoug Duguay
Sep 30, 2002 9:24 AM
While it's very important to have a saddle that is comfortable, perhaps even more important is having a bike fit you correctly.

When buying a bicycle make sure you are fitted so it's comfortable to spread you weight evenly on the saddle. Any good bicycle shop can help you get fitted correctly. I also got ride of my Selle Italia Flite Saddle and put on a Bernard Hinault Turbo Saddle.

I wish they still made Bernard Hinault Turbos.
re: Cycling and ImpotenceDoug Duguay
Sep 30, 2002 9:26 AM
While it's very important to have a saddle that is comfortable, perhaps even more important is having a bike fit you correctly.

When buying a bicycle make sure you are fitted so it's comfortable to spread you weight evenly on the saddle. Any good bicycle shop can help you get fitted correctly. I also got ride of my Selle Italia Flite Saddle and put on a Bernard Hinault Turbo Saddle.

One Postscript..... Articles about Impotence sell crappy magazines (a very good example is bicycling.) Good fit on a bicycle doesn't sell....

I wish they still made Bernard Hinault Turbos.
re: No problems here.dzrider
Sep 30, 2002 6:15 AM
Been riding since 1979 and lots since 1982. The wife and I did loaded touring for our honeymoon and conceived our first child. I'm now 54 and still horny enough to make a pest of myself. Can't say it never happens, but it hasn't happened here.
re: Cycling and ImpotenceMXL02
Sep 30, 2002 6:32 AM
Asked this question of a urologist friend who said it was bogus...my own take on it is that if you have symptoms while riding because of a poorly fitting saddle, then long term use could cause permanent damage...as long as you are comfortable during your rides,shouldn't be a problem...if it was we would be hearing a lot more about pro's having problems in their later years.
I agree about the pros. (nm)jtferraro
Sep 30, 2002 6:35 AM
AgreeRoyGBiv
Sep 30, 2002 7:27 AM
I saw a urologist for another matter and while there asked him about this issue. He, like my family doctor, said there's nothing to be concerned about.
Still, you don't want to take chances. A long while ago a fellow posted on this board about how the Koobi solved a problem he was having down there. Might be worth investing in a really good saddle if only for the peace of mind.
Conspiracy Theorypmf1
Sep 30, 2002 7:33 AM
I think this whole thing was cooked up by Bicycling Magazine and Specialized (a big advertiser). Bicycling came out with the story and lo and behold, Specialized had the cure. I hear they made millions on those silly cut-out saddles. For a while, they were the only game in town. If there was any credible scientific evidence that cycling causes impotence, I'd think we'd have seen it by now.
like anything elseDougSloan
Sep 30, 2002 7:38 AM
If it hurts or gets numb, change something. Otherwise, you are probably ok.

Doug
Have not seen any credible scientific evidence...jose_Tex_mex
Sep 30, 2002 7:39 AM
... much of the hype I remember was caused by studies whereby people fell on to the top tube and did damage to themselves.

Also, I remember a lot of "concern" right about the time the manufacturers began making saddles with grooves in them.

As for a credible long term study concluding that cycling (as the sole variable) can cause impotence - I have not seen one.

It's all realative. Cycling helps you stay in shape and keeps the blood flowing - a definite plus for your mojo.
Staying in shape...Fredrico
Sep 30, 2002 8:54 AM
Women have told me they think male cyclists are very sexy, not only for their trim bodies, tight butts and nice legs (yes, even shaved), but also because they have good hearts and lungs, aren't afraid of working hard, and could therefore go for a long time. Yeah. Unless of course, they've been riding on an ill-fitting saddle!

Ride on,

Fredrico
You can expect a lot of conflicting data and anecdotes.Sintesi
Sep 30, 2002 7:56 AM
Bicycling was citing a study that self described "cyclists" actually experienced a lesser incidence of impotence than the general population. Are we now to conclude that cycling reduces your chance of impotence?

Use common sense, there are solutions to numbness and sleepy johnsons.
Beware of statistics!!!tz
Sep 30, 2002 8:34 AM
Statistics is such a wonderful tool! Absolutely meaningless numbers can be presented in a very convincing way.
So far, all the "research" data that I've seen was crappy. They either picked a tiny group of cyclists, or never specified their age, or forgot (accidentally or intentionally?) other pivotal pieces of information.
I'd go by the formula suggested by others: if it doesn't hurt - don't worry.
re: Cycling and Impotence-like anything elsebrurider
Sep 30, 2002 8:35 AM
Doug is right - take his advice. I wondered if I should be concerned while racking up a lot of miles this spring. After Mr. Winky went to sleep (numb) for 3 days I got a little worried. Initial coarse of action was no riding for a few days. Then went to the LBS & he gave me 3 seats to try with cutouts. The first immediately made it worse - could tell it right away. Gave that one back. The 2nd seat worked with no added aggravation. Never tried the 3rd seat. The LBS said some guys think these concerns are a crock and others from experience know differently (me). Don't worry too much, mother nature will probably give you a warning that something is amiss before it falls off :).
Yep, it's true. Penis falls right off shortly after 1500 milesjs5280
Sep 30, 2002 8:51 AM
That's why you wear lycra, so you don't lose it when (not if) it does happen. Don't let these guys fool you, it's cycling's dirty little secret. I've got mine in a pickle jar. ;-)

Actually I've never seen good medical proof there's a strong connection between cycling and impotence. Far from "Does anyone out there have any proof to contradict all the impotence/cycling connection studies?" You make it sound like a forgone conslusion. Did a quick search on Medline just to make sure, found nothing on the subject. Here's a good overview of the subject and known risk factors (notice no mention of cycling): http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001951.htm

Yes, there's a lot of publicity on this issue because publications know that people, particularly males, will read it. At best, cycling may be a risk because it does compress that area and I do think the cut out seats probably help mitigate this risk. Trauma is a known cause of impotence, but it's usually something pretty severe. However cycling has a benefits to one's sex life as well. Since impotence has a strong pyschological component and happens to everyone at some point in time, I think it's hard (pun intended) to quantify actual risks. Just as there is no epidemic of testicular cancer in the professional peloton, there's no epidemic of impotence or even fertility issues either. Don't quit the bike over it.
Just like Marriage, right??? nmbiknben
Sep 30, 2002 11:28 AM
One Data Pointgrzy
Sep 30, 2002 12:51 PM
Got 209 million squiglies per cc, I'm 40 and I vote. Been riding bikes since before I could drive a car with all sorts of bad saddles and thought that having Mr. Happy go numb was perfectly normal. Does this prove anything? Nope. Can you continue to ride and lead a normal life - probably. Just take care of yourself.
Impotence - more a symptom of a different problemStarliner
Sep 30, 2002 12:57 PM
I think impotence is attributed to too many cases where a guy just doesn't get turned on anymore by his regular partner, but doesn't want to or know how to fess up to it. Not too many guys know how to tell their partner, "I'm am not aroused by you", out of fear that their partner couldn't handle the thought of it.

For those who ever fall into this boat, the longer they procrastinate and do nothing about it, the more likely they'll fall out of "sexual" shape, and experience difficulty getting back into the swing of it all. Many would call this impotence, but here, the "impotence" is but a symptom of the man's detachment from/suppression of his own sexuality, which is the real problem.

Always stay in touch with your own sexual desires, always feel good about them, never allow them to be suppressed by the anti-male forces that exist within society, feed those desires as frequently as you need to, and you'll be fine for as long as you want to be sexual. So keep on riding.
No problem...see attached pics : ) nmdave_w
Sep 30, 2002 1:13 PM
The Real Fear: Cycling and Incontinenceteamsloppy
Sep 30, 2002 11:49 PM
If we live long enough, 30% of us will be impotent, maybe 99%. I figure the "hey honey, let's just cuddle" will do just fine. 30% odds don't scare me. Impotence has no public effect on cycling, skiing, climbing or any other activity.

Now, cycling and incontinence. That is really debilitating. That's a shitty deal.

I have never seen a newspaper article on that.
If we live long enough, 30% of us will be impotent, maybe 99%. I figure the "hey honey, let's just cuddle" will do just fine. 30% odds don't scare me. Impotence has no public effect on cycling, skiing, climbing or any other activity. Now, cycling and incontinence. That is really debilitating. That's a shitty deal. I have never seen a newspaper article on that.teamsloppy
Sep 30, 2002 11:50 PM
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