By Robert Hicks
Everyone has their own reason why they ride a bike. Some do it to stay healthy, others ride to keep active, and then there are some who ride purely for the enjoyment of it. However, after reading this, you may have another reason to want to get out on the bike.
Let’s talk about sex, baby
That’s right. Sex, also known as hanky panky, bump and grind, doing the dirty, or a particular favourite of us, bow-chika-bow-wow. Whatever you want to call it, it’s still regarded as that taboo subject that everyone does, but rarely speaks about.
Anybody who gets on their bike regularly will be aware of the huge health benefits of cycling, but did you know that the rise in blood oxygen levels brought about by taking part in such high aerobic activity produces feelings of intense wellbeing and increased sexual vitality?
>>> Five minute warm-up exercises to do before you ride (video)
And according to some research, cycling has the power not only to make you more desirable to the opposite sex, but also to increase your level of sexual satisfaction, and even improve your lovemaking ability! Now, that in itself is surely enough of a reason to keep on riding your bike.
But hold on one moment. So what? I hear you say. I mean, is the world really that shallow that all we care about is our appearance and sex life? Surely there is more to life than just getting your leg over, or how dashing we may look (or not) when we have our ‘going out’ clobber on? After all, bonking the night away isn’t going to make you live longer, is it? Eating your greens and drinking Yakult is by far the better option, right?
Hitting the spot
Well, according to new research, a night in the sack may be more important than just a night of feather dusters, frolics and fun.
Dr Michael Roizen, who chairs the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, says: “For men, the more the better. The typical man who has 350 orgasms a year, versus the national average of around a quarter of that, lives about four years longer.” He even goes on to say that 700 orgasms a year could add up to eight years onto your life expectancy. Seven hundred! Who does he think we are? Russell Brand?
However, despite this still being a relatively new idea from Roizen, the actual benefits of sex go quite a way back, with many studies backing up his grand claims.
One Swedish (who else?) study conducted back in the 1980s found that 70 year olds who made it to 75 and older were the ones who were still having sex. And only 10 years ago, British scientists looked at the lifestyles of nearly 1,000 men in six villages in Wales to study the effects of frequent sex. Their results, which were based on death records, found the mortality risk of men who had the most frequent orgasms was lowered by 50 per cent. Whoever said too much of good thing is bad for you, eh?
Good for girls, too
And it’s not just the guys who benefit from plenty of sex, despite what some of their partners may say. A group of researchers from the Women’s Health Programme in Australia analysed the sex lives of almost 300 females aged between 20 and 65.
Those who reported having regular orgasms were less likely to fall victim to illness and reported feeling more energetic than women who were left wanting more — a typical conundrum in some households!
However, this particular study does differ slightly from the previous ones reported here, as it’s not the amount of sex women have that matters, but the quality. So whereas some studies believe more is better, others say it’s about the standard. Here’s a simple solution: why not combine the two? That way, everybody wins!
Sex reasons to keep riding your bike
1. Get the blood pumping
Cycling is one of the best exercises for building the cardiovascular system. According to cardiologist Michael Crawford (don’t worry, not the man who plays Frank Spencer): “A well trained heart can pump up to 50 per cent more blood with every beat compared to an untrained one. It’s your sexual drumbeat.” We live in a hectic modern world, full of late nights, bad food, working round the clock, and stress loads to send you through the roof. A good blood flow is essential. Right, guys?
2. Heightened sex drive
A study conducted at the University of California, looked at the sexual behaviour of two groups of middle-aged men. The first group followed a regular training plan, which involved exercising for one hour, three to four days per week; the second group didn’t exercise. After nine months, those in the first group reported a 30 per cent increase in the frequency of sex with their partners. Whoever said training was dull?
3. Going harder for longer
Get your minds out of the gutter, readers! We’re talking about cycling! Just like any endurance sport, some can ride further and longer than others. Luckily, cycling is up there as one of the best sports for cardiovascular conditioning, leading to an increase in your energy levels elsewhere in your body, resulting in you taking longer to tire. Also, strenuous physical activity makes you more attuned to your body and its sensations. But that could have advantages and disadvantages.
4. Stronger muscles
Cycling builds powerful leg, buttock and lower back muscles. And according to Dr Matthew Forsyth, a urologist and keen cyclist from Portland, Oregon: “All these muscles are used during intercourse. The better developed these muscles, the longer and more athletic intercourse will be.”
5. A natural high
During and after physical exertion, the body releases hormone endorphins, which produce a feeling of satisfaction and extreme wellbeing. We all know what it’s like to complete a big ride. We can’t shake off the smile for hours. But did you know they could also make you feel aroused? Researchers from the University of Chicago discovered that one in four women experiences sexual arousal while exercising.
At the end of a long ride, although you may feel a little tired, the feeling of accomplishment burns brightly from within. Confidence in your ability and physical prowess not only makes you feel sexier, but is often the way you are perceived by others. However, beware, too much self-confidence could be mistaken for arrogance. And that’s a big turn-off!
Cycling and impotence
But could riding even mess up a man’s sex life? There is one issue in particular which many chaps believe may hamper their sex lives, and may even be the reason why some stop riding their bikes altogether.
Impotence is a cause for concern for many men — and rightly so. However, a common misconception is that cycling is one of the main culprits in causing that ‘numb’ feeling. The whole debate started back in 1997 when an article was printed in Bicycling magazine.
Urologist Irwin Goldstein suggested that sitting on a bicycle for a long period of time exerts high pressure to the perineum, which lies between the genitals and the anus. This particular area is full of nerves and blood vessels. Excess pressure on this area harms the nerves and temporarily impedes blood flow, causing severe numbness.
However, as the years have passed, there has been no real, hard evidence to support this claim, and while journals and studies have been published, many experts say these reports are flawed.
Yes, sitting on the saddle for a long amount of time may cause numbness and discomfort — for both men and women — but the problems shouldn’t get any more serious than that.
“Will cycling cause impotence for the average male cyclist? And does that risk outweigh the cardiovascular benefits?” questions Harin Padma-Nathan, a clinical professor of urology at the University of California School of Medicine. “Of course the answer is no, on both counts.”
A woman rider’s thoughts
When it comes to sex, cycling has a bad reputation. There has been plenty of scaremongering in the press about the risks of cycling to our sexual organs, but what about the benefits?
With so many cyclists out there I cannot imagine all of them are sacrificing their sex lives for hours in the saddle, although I do know a few, but that is more to do with a lack of ability to find a willing partner.
Cycling itself has also become sexier. I for one never thought I would fancy the T-Rex body shape of the male cyclist (big legs, tiny arms), but now I’m fully engrossed in the world of cycling. How can a sport that strips all the fat off you, gives you thighs and buttocks of steel and tons of endurance not work wonders for your sex life?
The endorphins that are released during and after a fantastic workout on the bike boost mood. Exercise is a medically proven treatment for depression and we know if you are feeling down you will also have a reduced sex drive. So, boosting your mood most definitely boosts your libido. I have already mentioned the physical changes in your body. After a winter season of cyclo-cross I cannot believe the changes I have noticed; although not perfect, I am certainly leaner and more athletic than ever before.
The body confidence cycling can give you by not only burning fat but being comfortable in Lycra should work wonders in the bedroom. So you are toned, confident and ready to go, and boy can you go because you have the endurance and core strength that comes from long rides in the saddle.
There is also the social aspect of cycling to consider. Now, I’m not saying your local cycling club is the best dating agency around, but there must be plenty of men out there who have spent many years locked away in a bike shed, then meet the girl of their dreams while out enjoying beans on toast in the local cycling cafe. Before you know it they are on cosy touring trips around France and keeping the rest of the campsite up with their night-time activities. So don’t get caught out on your next ride in your saggy 1990s Lycra.
For those of you who are still concerned, recent research show that the risks of infertility and impotence can be greatly reduced with an appropriate saddle, a decent chamois and a good bike set-up. Only serious mile munchers should be worried, so perhaps swap the odd long ride for some bedroom core exercises.
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