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Apr 10, 2012

Hi Nelson,

I've read that bicycling can cause compression of the nerves and blood flow that can lead to sexual dysfunction in men. This can affect women too. One solution is a seat with "no nose" or horn. In all your research on exercise, have you come across any other solutions? And if a hornless seat is the way to go, any suggestions for which one to get? I always read your column and sometimes the questions and your answer are in Spanish. If you think everyone could benefit from it and it's not too much trouble, could you please translate it? Thank you for everything you do.


Response from Mr. Vergel

Yes, there are some reports about how erectile dysfunction can happen to some (not all) men who regularly bike ride using traditional bike seats. The problem affects women too, although in a manner not as obvious. A study found the genitalia of competitive female cyclists were desensitized by long hours of riding. It seems that the "nose" of traditional seats reduces blood flow to the penile (or vaginal area) and also may cause some nerve damage and numbness. Biking and Erectile Dysfunction: A Real Risk?

This report describes a study done in policemen who rode bicycles daily using no-nose bicycle seats. The study found that the more hours the policemen spent riding, the more likely they were to have some erectile issues. No-nose seats have a wide rear that distributes the rider's weight on his sit bones on the buttocks and not on the area between the testicular sack and the anus (the perineum). One study in Germany found that oxygen levels in blood flow to the penis dropped by only about 20% when riders were on a no-nose seat. A traditional bicycle saddle reduces oxygen in blood flow by around 80%.

These is a no-nose seat with good reviews: Ergo Endurance Bicycle Noseless Saddle

I am not sure how much more difficult it would be to ride using one of those seats. It seems that it would require more work to try to stay on the seat without sliding down, but I guess it is worth the trouble if it means more flow to the penis (or vaginal) area.

Yes, I am getting a lot of questions from Latin America, specially my home country of Venezuela, after a few articles about my work have been published there. I think your idea about translating some of the most interesting ones if a good one. Will keep that in mind for the future!

Nelson Vergel

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