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No, riding a bicycle won’t kill your sex life.

Just as the next Los Angeles-area CicLAvia bike riding event is scheduled for June 11 from Glendale to the Atwater area, new scientific studies appear to debunk those stories of long bike rides leading to erectile dysfunction for men. Bike riding doesn’t even have a negative impact on the sex lives of women.

And it doesn’t really matter for your love life what kind of seat you’ve got installed on your bicycle.

In papers made public this past weekend in Boston at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association, researchers found for men that:

  • Male cyclists have no worse erectile function than male non-cyclists.
  • Cycling does not affect lower urinary tract symptoms.
  • Cyclists had higher odds of perineal numbness compared to non-cyclists.
  • Cardiovascular benefits of exercise seem to outweigh any theoretical deterrent of cycling.
  • Bike seat type had no significant effect on results.

“Cycling provides many well-known health benefits, but there have long been discussions and questions about the risks associated with prolonged perineal pressure in men and women who regularly bike,” according to researchers. “Previous studies have linked this pressure to numbness, pain and erectile dysfunction in men, and suggested cycling may also be a hazard to the sexual health of women; however new studies suggest otherwise.”

Researchers looking at the impact on the sexuality of women bike riders found the following:

  • Cycling has no appreciable effect on female sexual or urinary functions.
  • There were no significant urinary symptom differences between cyclists and non-cyclists.
  • Female cyclists may have an increased risk of developing unrinary tract infections.
  • High intensity cyclists (cycling for more than 2 years, more than 3 times a week and daily average of more than 25 miles cycled) were more likely to develop perineal numbness and saddle sores.
  • Bike seat type had no significant effect on results.

“As cycling gains in popularity, as both a hobby and a professional sport, it is important for the public to know that it has no credible link to urologic disease or sexual dysfunction,” said Dr.  Kevin McVary, urology professor and chair at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. “Men and women can benefit from the cardiovascular exercise of cycling without worrying about negative side effects to their urinary tract or sexual performance.”

The next CicLAvia event in the Los Angeles area will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 11. The public roads on the event route from Glendale to the Atwater area will be closed to vehicle traffic, allowing bike riders and walkers to spend as much time as they like on the unusual car-free trek. CicLAvia events have been held all over the Los Angeles area for years. More information about the regular events may be found at info@ciclavia.org.

In research on men, workers conducted a survey of male athletes recruited from English-speaking sports clubs throughout the world. The study included nearly 4,000 participants, of whom 63 percent were cyclists who did not swim or run and 37 percent were swimmers or runners who did not cycle. Participants were queried about their physical activity and answered validated questionnaires including: The Sexual Health Inventory for Men, International Prostate Symptom Score and the National Institute of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index. High intensity cycling was defined as cycling for longer than two years, more than three times per week and a daily average of more than 25 miles.

Researchers also conducted an international study on female athletes recruited from English-speaking sports clubs to determine if cycling has an effect on the female genitourinary tract. The study included 2,691 participants. Thirty-nine percent (658) were cyclists and 61 percent (1,013) were swimmers or runners who did not regularly cycle. Participants answered questions about their physical activities, sexual function, urinary symptoms, history of urinary tract infections and perineal numbness using the Female Sexual Function Inventory and the I-PSS.

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