Following the news that cycling doesn’t affect men's sexual health comes the revelation that the activity could actually be beneficial for women. A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that ‘high intensity’ cyclists had lower odds of self-reported sexual dysfunction compared to non-cyclists.
Bicycling.com reports that the study involved 1,053 non-cyclists (who were all swimmers or runners), 1,656 low-intensity cyclists, and 409 high-intensity cyclists, who were defined as those who cycled more than three times a week, averaging more than 25 miles a ride.
The majority of participants were white, under the age of 40, single and normal weight. In addition to the Female Sexual Function Index, they completed the American Urological Symptom Index questionnaire.
They were also questioned on factors such as bike type, saddle type, frequency of wearing padded shorts, proportion of time riding out of the saddle, saddle angle, handlebar height and type of riding surface.
"We found that lifetime miles ridden was associated with better sexual function, as measured by a common, validated questionnaire," said first author Thomas W Gaither, a UCSF medical student.
It wasn’t all good news though. "One of the more novel findings of the study is that lifetime miles ridden were directly correlated with saddle sores and urinary tract infections," said Gaither. "These findings may be considered by some as minor, however, saddle sores and infections may inhibit sexual activity. If we could find a way to prevent saddle sores and infections, we believe that cycling might improve the sexual health of women."