And I thought it was just because I wasn't 18 anymore:
A raft of new studies suggest that cyclists, particularly men, should be careful which bicycle seats they choose.
The studies add to earlier evidence that traditional bicycle saddles, the kind with a narrow rear and pointy nose, play a role in sexual impotence.
Some saddle designs are more damaging than others, scientists say. But even so-called ergonomic seats, to protect the sex organs, can be harmful, the research finds.
Holy shit! This is really bad news! I've always been a fan of the cleft, which reduces the appearance of numbness, but apparently it falls short of a real solution, and may make the problem worse:
In men, a sheath in the perineum, called Alcock's canal, contains an artery and a nerve that supply the penis with blood and sensation. The canal runs along the side of a bone, Dr. Goldstein said, and when a cyclist sits hard on a narrow saddle, the artery and the nerve are compressed. Over time, a reduction of blood flow can mean that there is not enough pressure to achieve full erection.
In women, Dr. Goldstein said, the same arteries and nerves engorge the clitoris during sexual intercourse. Women cyclists have not been studied as much, he added, but they probably suffer the same injuries...
Today's ergonomic saddles have splits in the back or holes in the center to relieve pressure on the perineum. But this may make matters worse: the ergonomic saddles have smaller surface areas, so the rider's weight presses harder on less saddle, Dr. Schrader said. The perineum may not escape injury because its arteries run laterally and they are not directly over the cutouts. The arteries can come under more pressure when they come into contact with the cutouts' edges.
It's hard to talk about your penis not getting hard, or as hard as you'd like, when you're gettin' it on. But this is an important topic for men to get used to dealing with, and it's only going to be more of an issue as time marches on.
This plays a part in pride and enjoyment, as the advertising world reminds us. The vast majority of consumers of Viagra and its kin aren't trying to treat full-on impotence; they're trying to go from 60% (which is on the border of functional for intercourse) to 100% (the punishment!). It also affects people's sexual health choices. All the people I know who have unprotected sex do so not just because it's a different world of sensation, but also (and even primarily) because putting on a condom exacerbates any problems you might be having at that moment maintaining your boner.
Personally I haven't had frequent problems here. I still use protection rigorously, and I've been fortunite to be with women haven't made me feel bad when I have had problems with my circulation. Bully for me. However, the phrase "loss of libido" makes me nervous. Apropops my moments of romantic longing, I've writting in my private paper journal before about how I seem to have less and less of a hunger -- less acute, less often -- for the sensual things in life. Part of this is without a doubt a product of hormonal maturity, and part of it might be lingering depression, stress or fatigue. But what if my love of two-wheeled human power is also a culprit?
"We make kids wear helmets and knee pads," Dr. Goldstein said. "But no one thinks about protecting the crotch."
Well, I sure as hell am thinking about protecting my crotch now. I'm going to be getting a new larger track bike at some point when I get back to NYC. Looks like it's time to invest in a noseless saddle too.