I recently became aware that traditional bike seats (tear drop shaped) can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED). This happens because as much as a quarter of our body weight rests on the the nose section of traditional bike saddles and this can significantly reduce blood flow to our most, um…prized possession. Most cyclist I know, both men and women, have experienced some numbness in their genital area after a long bike ride. Traditional saddles can reduce blood circulation by as much as 80% and we triathletes are even more prone to experience a reduction in blood flow because we normally ride in the “aero” position which puts even more pressure on our groin. This news was very disturbing to me because I am not willing to give up what is probably the most primal activity of all, sex.
Luckily, there is a solution! Thanks to the folks at Ideal Saddle Modification (ISM), they created a seat which puts the weight of the rider on the rider’s sit bone (instead of groin), which does not restrict blood flow to the groin. This is from ISM’s website about the testing of their seat:
On September 5, 2006 we traveled to the University of Hamburg to have the new Adamo Road saddle and the Adamo Racing saddle tested by noted German urologist Dr. Frank Sommer. At the conclusion of the testing Dr. Sommer was pleased with our results and congratulated Steve on his design and achievements. Dr. Sommer stated, “A saddle where there is hardly any blood loss. Which is excellent to preserve sexuality and for preventing erectile dysfunction.”
When I first rode the ISM saddle I experience a little soreness on my sit bones, which is common for many first time riders of the saddle, but that soreness went away after a couple of rides. I definitely recommend making the switch to an ISM saddle. Our “junk” and sex life is worth protecting!