Cycling, including e-biking, is well-known for its health benefits, but there have been ongoing discussions about the risks of prolonged perineal pressure for regular male and female cyclists. Previous research has linked this pressure to issues like numbness, pain, and erectile dysfunction in men. Some studies have even suggested that cycling could harm women's sexual health.
Two landmark studies suggest otherwise, showing that cycling is a form of exercise without adverse effects on sexual health and urinary functions.
The studies on the impact of cycling on men's and women's sexual health and urinary functions were presented at a special press conference during the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA). Time to hop on that e-bike and hit the open road!
The Impact of Cycling on Women's Sexual and Urinary Functions
The study surveyed female cyclists contacted via Facebook ads and outreach to sports clubs worldwide where English is spoken, while swimmers and runners were included as a control group.
Participants were asked about their physical activities and perineal numbness. Sexual function was measured by the Female Sexual Function Inventory (FSFI). Cycling at high intensity was defined as cycling for over two years, at least three times a week, and with an average daily distance of more than 25 miles.
Out of a total of 4,879 individuals who were invited to participate, 2,691 (55%) completed the survey. The study compared female cyclists who do not swim or run regularly (658, 39%) and female swimmers or runners who do not cycle regularly (1,013, 61%).
The researchers adjusted for factors, including age, body mass index, hypertension, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and tobacco use.
The FSFI is a widely used measure of Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) that assesses six domains: desire; arousal; lubrication; orgasm; satisfaction; and pain.
In contrast to earlier studies, the research indicates that cycling does not negatively affect female sexual or urinary function. However, we see higher FSFI scores for female cyclists compared to female non-cyclists, and higher FSFI scores indicate a better level of sexual function.
The Impact of Cycling on Men's Sexual and Urinary Functions
Of 5,851 male individuals who participated in the survey, 3,919 (67%) completed it. The study focused on two groups: male cyclists who do not swim or run regularly (1,642, 63%) and swimmers or runners who do not cycle regularly (975, 37%). After controlling for factors such as age, body mass index, hypertension, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and tobacco use, the researchers found that male cyclists had a higher mean SHIM score than male non-cyclists (20.1 vs. 18.9, p<0.01).
In terms of high-intensity cycling, the study revealed that high-intensity male cyclists had a significantly higher mean SHIM score than lower-intensity cyclists (20.6 vs. 19.5, p<0.01).
Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM) is a validated questionnaire widely used in urology clinics to evaluate and assess treatment efficacy for erectile dysfunction (ED). Higher scores indicate better erectile function, and a score of 20 or higher indicates a normal degree of erectile functioning.
After adjusting for age, the researchers found that male cyclists had significantly higher odds of perineal numbness than non-cyclists. Bike seat type did not significantly affect any of the results mentioned above.
As e-biking involves a bicycle, the findings from research on cycling may generally be relevant to e-bikers. While there may be some differences between traditional cycling and e-biking, both activities involve a similar physical posture which could affect the urinary and sexual functions of both men and women. Moreover, since the study did not focus on any specific type of bicycle, the conclusions are likely applicable to e-bikers.
Cycling enthusiasts may have a secret weapon in the form of higher male SHIM and female SFSI scores, which might help them "perform" better in the bedroom.
So, keep pedaling, join E-bike Lovers' rides in the Washington DC area, and spread the love of cycling. And remember, when it comes to e-cycling, it's not just about the destination. It's also about the journey.