New Bicycle Seat Design Protects Riders Sex Lives

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Updated: August 28, 2013

According to a news report, researchers from the University of Alicante have developed a novel bicycle seat that at long last offers relief for both professional and weekend cycling enthusiasts from pain experienced with chafing, tingling and numbness of the genitals. Such signs of discomfort are indications of possible nerve damage that can put a damper on sexual performance in women and cause erectile dysfunction in men.

The potential damaging of the nerves within the perineum in both men and women using conventional bicycle seats is a well-known problem for those who take up cycling for physical fitness and/or sport.

Earlier studies have looked at using specialized pressure sensors in bicycle seats to measure how much contact force is made between the bicycle seat and a person’s perineum that could be damaging to nerves and blood vessels in both the male and female perineal regions.

One of the earliest signs that a male bicycle rider may be experiencing trauma to the nerves or blood vessels connected to his penis is a tingling sensation at the end of his penis and/or a numbness of the perineum where direct contact is made with a bicycle seat. Prolonged and/or numerous periods of riding a bicycle can cause constant swelling of the tissues surrounding the nerves and blood vessels resulting in temporary erectile difficulties and a feeling of discomfort “down there.”

According to researchers from the University of Alicante’s Institute of Physics Applied to Science and Technology and the Department of Physics at the Polytechnic Higher School, their novel design is unique enough to merit patent protection—which could make older, conventional bicycle seats a thing of the past as well as the omnipresent genital numbing during cycling.

The novelty of the design lies in a hinged articulated saddle where the coccyx-supporting narrow front and the wide back portions of the seat have been articulately joined. This articulation of the front part of the bicycle seat is mobile whereas the back remains fixed, which allows the rider to adjust his or her seating position easily and prevent undue pressure on the perineum.

University of Alicante lead researcher, Alfonso Panchón Ruiz, states in the news release that “…the main advantage of this new design compared to traditional saddles, is that it allows―at the user’s will―to rest and recover from fatigue of the perineal area suffering lasting intense compression for which they are not designed anatomically.”

“The classic bicycle saddle has a unitary structure formed by a rigid body in anteroposterior direction which makes that, permanently, the perineal tissues, which are soft and not ready to withstand these forces, are being compressed, independent of the position taken by the user. For this reason, soon after starting the exercise, nerves and arteries reach high levels of compression, which causes problems associated with lack of blood supply, such as numbness and affection of the genitals in both men and women, and in the long run, significant pathologies requiring medical treatment may appear,” states Ruiz.

Conventional bicycle seats have changed little over the years with their static solid form and require that the rider stands on the pedals in order to temporarily take pressure off of the perineum.

However, for those riders who are more performance minded and not so eager to change from a style that works well in racing, the researchers claim that their new design does not interfere with balance or control and that in fact it provides a competitive aerodynamic edge during declines down steep slopes.

Currently the research team is further testing a prototype design to ascertain the full health and medical benefits of this novel, aerodynamically designed style of bicycle seat.

For an informative article about how that some lubricants used to prevent saddle sores on cyclists can cause hormonal problems, follow the link to an article titled, “Cycling and Chafing Cream Linked to Increased Estrogen Levels in Male Cyclists.”

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Reference: University of Alicante

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