Written by Mojo, reviewed by Urologist Ramesh Krishnan, and Psychosexual and relationship therapist Amanda Barge
The myth: cycling gives you physical erectile dysfunction
Mojo’s verdict: fiction (if you’re doing it right)
Cycling is getting more and more popular, with the number of cyclists in the USA increasing from 43 million in 2015 to 52 million in 2020.
However, we also know that many men out there are turning to Google to check whether their cycling habits are having a negative impact on their erections. After all, it’s one of the only sports that involves squishing your bits for long periods of time.
So, naturally, we thought it was about time we took a serious look at whether guys can get erectile dysfunction from cycling.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when you can’t get or keep an erection. And it can happen to anyone, whether you’re a regular Lance Armstrong or you’ve never made it past stabilizers.
The assumption that cycling causes erectile dysfunction is pretty common (and pretty understandable, to be honest). But it’s not that straightforward. So, we got a team of experts to break down all things peddling and penises.
In our line-up, we’ve got:
To make a long story short, no, cycling does not cause erectile dysfunction. The most recent study on the subject found that there was no correlation between cycling and long-term erection issues.
So, don’t throw out your bike. But do be mindful of your member, because some of the impacts of cycling can damage your penis. We’ll get into it later on.
While biking doesn’t directly cause physical ED, we do have to acknowledge that getting on the saddle can have an effect downstairs.
In the next section, we’ll dive into the temporary physical erection issues you could face as a result of cycling – and the potential longer-term psychological consequences that may follow. If this sounds scary, fear not, we know how to fix these problems, too.
We know cycling doesn’t cause erectile dysfunction, but in some cases it can make it harder to get hard temporarily.
With some help from Dr Krishnan, we’ve compiled the handy list below, so you know what to look out for.
The good news is that as long as you realize that your genital area is numb or uncomfortable and make some adjustments to your biking setup, you won’t be affected by any official long-term erection issues.
We know what you’re thinking – “how can cycling cause erectile dysfunction psychologically?”
Well, if you’re experiencing any of the cycling side effects we’ve listed above, you might have short-term physical issues getting a hard-on, which could lead to psychological ED.
“Unfortunately, just one experience of not being able to get an erection can make you question your erections altogether. These doubts and anxieties can throw you off for much longer than a short-term physical problem.”
Amanda Barge, Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist
You might start to wonder if you’ll ever be able to get it up again, causing you to get nervous before sex. This is known as sexual performance anxiety, and – no surprises here – it’s a real cock block.
This is exactly what happened to our founder, Angus. Young, fit, and healthy, Angus crushed his blood vessels while cycling. This should have taken 6 to 12 weeks to heal, but he developed psychological ED issues as a result, and it took him over a year to get back on track.
“A physical problem planted the seed of doubt in my head that my erections might not work. Once I started being anxious about my erections not working, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Angus, Mojo co-founder
Don’t worry, this is easily fixed. And, if you make the necessary adjustments, you won’t have to worry about physical ED at all.
Based on some hot tips from Dr Krishnan and physiotherapist Matt, we’ve outlined the changes you should make to your bike and your biking habits to ensure your sex life stays safe.
“If you beef up your glutes, then they can take some pressure away from your problem areas because you’ve got more muscle mass there to pad things out.
The additional muscle mass will really make a difference, and it can also improve power. There’s a reason that these Olympic cyclists have got beefy glutes. If you can shave a few seconds off your times, that’s a pretty big positive as well."
Matt Anstey, Physiotherapist
You’re in the right place. Angus created Mojo because he didn’t know where to turn when his penile numbness sparked psychological ED.
Now, there’s a tailor-made platform to make sure a short-term physical problem doesn’t spiral into a long-term mental one.
On Mojo, you’ll find:
Plus, doing sexual wellbeing work isn’t just great for restoring your erections – it could totally revolutionize your sex life. We’ve even got a trial, so you can give it a go, no strings attached.
“I’m now really grateful that I had erection issues. It made me re-evaluate what I thought good sex was and actually start doing sexual wellbeing work. I’m now having the best sex of my life by a country mile.”
Angus, Mojo co-founder
Everyone’s butt is different, and everyone’s penis is different, so everyone’s ‘perfect saddle’ will be a little different. But there are a few things to consider when you’re choosing your seat.
This part is pretty simple. If you follow our treatment advice and make the right changes to your bike and your biking style, your recovery should be no problem.
“I see plenty of keen cyclists with genital numbness, but men don’t usually open up about it immediately. It’s so important for guys to be open about the issue so they can get it sorted and get on the path to recovery.”
Matt Anstey, Physiotherapist
Even if you haven’t had any issues, we recommend making sure your bike is set up properly so you can avoid any discomfort or numbness.
After all, you should be able to bike to your heart’s content without having to worry about losing feeling in your fella.
The fact is that almost anything can mess with your erections. If you’re suffering from ED, cycling might have nothing to do with it.
“The benefits of cycling outweigh the potential risks when it comes to ED, for sure.”
Dr Ramesh Krishnan, Urologist
On a physical level, cycling reduces your chances of vascular problems and obesity, and promotes overall physical health. This means that cyclists may be less likely to be affected by some of the most common physical risk factors for ED.
And psychologically, we all know that exercise has a direct positive impact on mental health. Staying active can help you stay positive, and positive mental health is also key for great erections.
Make sure your bike is kitted out for maximum comfort, and you’re free to pedal into the sunset – you can rest assured that cycling is not going to physically destroy your erections.
And if penile numbness caused by cycling has given you some short-term penis problems, we have all the tools you could possibly need to make sure psychological ED doesn’t take over. Our trial is here whenever you’re ready.
Sign up today to get a trial and test out our videos, meditations and podcasts.
Mojo aims to provide useful wellbeing resources to its users; however, you should not solely rely on opinions or advice available on the Website or given by the Community. Always seek advice from a qualified medical doctor or other healthcare professional before acting.