A recent survey published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, points to motorcycles as a cause of erectile dysfunction. The survey, based on findings from 150 men in Japan, suggests that 46 percent of riders who use their bikes for just three hours every weekend, had problems achieving an erection and emptying their bladder.
This study supports previous findings in 2006, in which a hefty 70 percent of riders claimed to suffer similar problems. Older riders, aged 50-59 were the worst affected with 93 percent reporting severe erectile dysfunction.
Although the most recent study does not give any details about the type or power of motorcycles involved, the research points to vibration and sitting arrangements as the likely problem. It is true that newer motorcycles are better in terms of vibration dampening but the report claims that seats on most motorcycles place too much pressure on an area between the anus and scrotum, known as the perineum.
Similar findings have been reported with ordinary push-bikes. The shape of saddles and the pressure on the perineum of the rider is a cause of erectile dysfunction. Pressure on the perineum causes compression to the vessels that supply blood to the penis. Over time this can result in damage to the vessels and possible blockage, leading to erectile dysfunction. Of course not every rider is affected with erectile dysfunction but a high proportion of riders who use a cycle regularly do report some loss of sensation and numbness around the groin and penis.
Dr. Stephen Schrader's ground-breaking work in 2002 on the hazards of bicycle riding in police officers, pointed to a situation in which biking officers experienced low quality erections as the amount of time spent in the saddle increased.
In August this year, I reported on the introduction of no-nose bicycles for serving police officers from five metropolitan regions. Following a trial period in which men reporting lack of genital numbness rose from 27 percent to 82 percent, around 97 percent of officers continued to use the no-nose saddle.