To all of you out there who think women just need to toughen up on the bike, there is now research that explains exactly what we’ve been trying to tell you all these years–biking hurts our vagina. And, not only that, it can hurt our sex life, too.
Published in this month’s issue of the Journal Of Sexual Medicine, researchers discovered that female cyclists do indeed suffer from decreased anterior vaginal and left labial genital sensation. In other words, pain and numbness. Ouch.
The reason for this discomfort? Biking puts increased pressure on the nerves and blood vessels surrounding our genitalia. And that can mean a loss of sexual sensation, not to mention a loss of sexual desire.
To draw this conclusion (they could have just asked any long-distance female biker), the scientists evaluated 48 women who biked at least ten miles a week, four weeks a month. After monitoring them on a bike, the researchers measured their pelvic floor sensation using a pressure map. It was here that they discovered the true culprit of our vaginal pain: the handlebars are too low.
Handlebars positioned lower than the saddle were significantly associated with increased perineum saddle pressures and decreased genital sensation in female cyclists.
This increased sensitivity can lead many a woman to say “not tonight” in the bedroom. And understandably so. If you’ve ever experienced this pain yourself, you know that it can take hours or even a day or two for that pain to completely go away. Swollen, chaffed labias are not our friends when it comes to sex.
The scientists went on to suggest that adjusting the height of the handlebars to a higher position can help relieve this sensitivity and while reviving our desire for sex after biking. But there’s just one problem: Keeping the handlebars low puts you in a more aerodynamic position on the bike, which means a faster ride.
So all of this presents a dilemma. Would you rather be a faster biker or a better lover?
Can’t we be both?