Cycling and Loss of Genital Sensation

Prof. Rafi Heruti, is it true that spinning, or cycling, can cause irreversible damage to women's genitals, such as damage to nerves and sensations that will reduce sexual pleasure? Does it also make men lose sensations? And if you wear padded pants for training, can it prevent it?

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It is wonderful to find a physical activity that you love, and spinning is a great way to do it. The concern that this could cause damage is not entirely unreasonable - in several studies, a decrease in genital sensation among cyclists (women and men) has been demonstrated. However, among women, it was mainly found in post-menopausal competitive riders, ie, those who ride almost every day for an hour or more.

 

Due to hormonal changes in menopause, the vaginal tissue is thinner and the amount of lubricant (which is a protective factor) decreases. In these studies, that outcome was not found in young women, and no decline in sexual function was reported.

Wearing padded pants in any cycling workout is a good way to protect your genital area. In those studies, where it was shown that cycling may reduce the sensation in the genitals, it was intense, frequent, prolonged cycling per week. 

The researchers concluded that the pressure from riding reduces blood flow to the genitals (genital area), which can cause nerve injury.

 

Therefore, you should consider limiting the amount and duration of spinning lessons taken; up to three times per week should not be a problem.

You should be attentive to the body and be aware of any tingling or numbness in this area. Effective ways to relieve pressure and improve blood circulation to the genitals include choosing a suitable bicycle with a padded seat, changing the seat angle, and lowering pressure (by lifting the pelvis and standing on the pedals for a few seconds every few minutes during long rides). 

Men might be at a higher risk for sensory damage and even erection problems; therefore, it is important to follow the same rules.

The benefit of exercise (including spinning) is usually greater than the downside. Spinning is a good opportunity to diversify your workout routine, but like other areas, you need to find balance and be attentive to your body.