Is cycling bad for your sex life? Let’s talk about... genital health

Long spells in the saddle can put pressure on our nether regions – but most of the risks can be prevented, here's how

genital health
(Image credit: Future)

It completely freaked me out,” says Sam Ford. “I’m young, I’m fit and healthy, I shouldn’t be getting erectile dysfunction (ED). Aches and pains are associated with sport and especially cycling, but getting two bouts of ED was like, ‘what the f**k is going on here’ – I panicked.” 

Ford (not his real name) has agreed to tell his story to help raise awareness of a problem that, though common, is rarely discussed. A competitive regional racer in his mid-20s, he started suffering dull testicular ache, urinary incontinence and the need to pee more frequently after increasing his training volume to between 20 and 25 hours a week during the first lockdown. On two occasions, he experienced problems getting an erection. “It was a low point because going to the doctor at my age about ED was not something I thought I’d have to do.” 

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Chris Marshall-Bell

A freelance sports journalist and podcaster, you'll mostly find Chris's byline attached to news scoops, profile interviews and feature writing across a variety of different publications. He has been writing regularly for Cycling Weekly since 2013.

Previously a ski, hiking and cycling guide in a number of places, but mostly in the Canadian Rockies and Spanish Pyrenees, he almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.

He lives in Valencia, Spain.