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  1. #1
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    Women's anatomy issues with bike seats and possible solutions?

    Women,

    (warning: possible TMI)
    My wife is having, to put it tactfully, physiological difficulty in bed with certain nerves and blood vessels. She is well taken care of in the psychological realm.

    We're now suspecting that years on an ill fitted bike and seat along with leaning too far forward on horseback may have caused nerve damage to her anatomy.

    I've worked through the similar male issues with bike seats and have found a good solution.

    She currently uses a big gel seat with a cutout and commutes 6-20 miles per day at recreational paces in street clothes and is 25 years old. We're now expecting our first child in January too.

    Our current game plan:
    - saddle has been tilted down more in front
    - shorter, higher hand position
    - possibly find a noseless saddle (anyone tried that?)

    Anyone care to share their experiences, struggles, or victories in this realm?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    "Anatomy" is pretty vague, actually. Buttocks? Labia? Perinuem? Numbness? Tingling? The more accurate you can be the more help you will likely get here. You don't say if you have had any medical input, but perhaps a visit to a sports med person or PT that is familiar with cycling issues would be useful.

    That being said, the usual information for female bikes is to steer clear of those giant gel seats. It seems counter intuitive, but the giant gel seats cause one to sit on muscle and tissue, instead of getting skeletal support. A properly fit saddle supports via the "sit bones" of the pelvis. This can actually be measured. The size of your ass is no indicator of the sit bone width. Specialized originated the ass-o-meter but many shops now carry devices that you can sit on that will measure the bones. You walk away with a size, usually in mm, of what width saddle to start with.


    Good luck
    After that, it comes down to personal preference and what works. Some folks like cut outs, some like a firmer saddle, etc. Many shops have a system where you can check out different saddles to try before you purchase, or a system where you can trade them in.

  3. #3
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    If you really want to know, she hasn't had an orgasm yet and its getting sad and frustrating for us both. We're wondering if the bike seat could be the problem.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like a bummer, but I've never heard of that kind of problem being caused by bike seats, but maybe someone else has. Seriously. And yes, specifics are much more helpful than "problems down there". That covers a lot of territory. (pun intended).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by campredcloudbikes View Post
    If you really want to know, she hasn't had an orgasm yet and its getting sad and frustrating for us both. We're wondering if the bike seat could be the problem.
    This thread should be a real maturity test for the mtbr crew here. I would think a gynecologist would be a far better person to seek advice from than an anonymous internet site on a topic as "delicate" as this one.
    Are you really sure about that?

  6. #6
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    You do hear a lot about male problems with this from riding, but not women, but maybe it's just not talked about, or is not as widespread. I am twice her age and haven't heard of it before, so my initial reaction was that it is not the bike, but who knows,it is certainly possible. . Chamois shorts would be worth a shot, even if worn under street clothes. Be open to other resources though, and to approaches other than intercourse - try to just be playful and attentive with no end goal in mind and see what happens. It's nice that you care, some don't.

  7. #7
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    The short answer is that prolonged stretching (mainly) or compression of her pudendal nerves could be an issue with clitoral and perineal sensation and hence possibly orgasm. It would be worsened by things like chronic constipation (straining). Childbirth may not help, but it does open the door to a candid discussion with her gynaecologist. Nerve conduction studies can be performed to assess the process.

    You may want to get in touch with one of the elite female road riding teams and ask the question of them, as it is likely to come up amongst the female pro cyclists. In general, as stated above, a wide saddle is not good, so getting her sized up makes sense.

  8. #8
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    Also, not being able to reach orgasm is common without physical trauma, so get her to the gyno to rule out any issues there, then proceed with the psychological aspect if required.

    And most importantly, remain extremely supportive! Wimmens have 100x more emotion tied to their sexuality that we fellows have to ours.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
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    Plus without getting into detail, you may have to find new ways to help her get there.

  10. #10
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    Could this be related at all to her pregnancy? If it is a recent phenomenon it may be related. Either way, no one here is more qualified than your wife's Ob/Gyn to answer this question.

  11. #11
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    Women's anatomy issues with bike seats and possible solutions?

    I've never heard of this either. Maybe have her ask her horse buddies. Or you can ask her horse buddies yourself about her orgasms.
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  12. #12
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    First, I agree. Padded gel seat is NOT the issue. Get her sit bones measured. Try a variety of high quality seats, Terry's, WTB, etc. She should probably be riding in bike shorts with a quality chamois as well.

    And well, since she's now pregnant, things will be more difficult in the orgasm department. If she had problems before being pregnant, now might not be the time to address them. It is just harder to enjoy sex when pregnant, honestly. But really I doubt it's a bike seat issue. Many women cannot orgasm from intercourse and require oral or manual stimulation. Keep trying.

  13. #13
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    I agree this is probably an issue that would warrant talk with the OB/GYN. Personally, my advice to her (if the doctor says that everything seems normal) would be a selection of vibrators and some personal time alone to figure out what "works" for her.
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  14. #14
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    If she's 25 and has never had an orgasm in her life, I have my doubts that the problem is 100% because of her bike seat. If I was in your position, I'd advise her to talk to her OB/GYN and then get some toys and start playing around. Get a couple of books and "work' your way through them. Sex is a complicated thing with an unlimited number of psychological barriers that can get in the way. Take a course in massage together and just LEARN how to get better at it. Nearly everybody has hangups/barriers when it comes to sex that they can work through. Do you have plenty of lotions/potions and do you play around with vibrators with her? You two may even benefit from an appointment with a person that specializes in this ... a sex therapist. I think it would be a mistake to assume you're doing everything right in bed and attribute it to a bike seat problem although it certainly makes sense for her to talk to her doctor and check out that route as well. Get an instructional video and do some "training" together. If the two of you are eager and excited about growing and learning together you will no doubt overcome this but if it seems odd or embarrassing or strange to either of you to do some wild experimenting and new things, then that might be an indication of where the problem is. Keeping sex interesting and exciting in a marriage is a challenge. A lot of couples fail at it.
    Are you really sure about that?

  15. #15
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    I've never heard of a bike seat causing these types of issues. Long rides in the saddle, even with the right seat and shorts, can cause pain, chaffing, and general discomfort, but I've never experienced difficulties climaxing because of this. I would dare to argue the opposite - that intense physical activity, whether it's running, riding my bike, climbing, etc. enhance and lead to more fulfilling and powerful orgasms.

    However, for many women, it can be difficult. There are many factors - physical and mental - that play a part. The bike seat is not one of them.

    This sounds like a conversation that you two should be having. I'm pretty sure that there is nothing wrong with her anatomy.

  16. #16
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    Congratulations on the pregnancy.

    At the very least (if you haven't already), go to the library and check out some books on sex. It is particularly important that she read them. Sex is like playing a guitar, flying an airplane, or riding a mountain bike. Anyone can do it, but it takes a lifetime to master, and you never get perfect at it. And we aren't taught even the basics at home or in school in most cases.

    Quote Originally Posted by MSLKauai View Post
    Nearly everybody has hangups/barriers when it comes to sex that they can work through.
    I'm thinking the same thing. Maybe it doesn't mean anything, but to me it is a red flag that you are here asking about this and not her. If she has low interest in sex, it may be baggage from her upbringing, or a hormonal issue. If her desire is OK but she can't orgasm, that also could be a hormonal problem. If you've ruled out mental hangups and technique, visiting a bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (bhrt) specialist would be good. A typical gyn isn't that up to speed on hormones and desire, although a lot of bhrt specialists are gyns also -- my wife's is.

    Anyway, get this taken care of. Sex is very important, and can make or break a marriage. Whatever you spend in time and effort will be cheaper than a divorce.

    Edited to add that we did not experience any difficulty in her orgasming during pregnancy. No worries about getting pregnant, not trying to get pregnant -- it was a blast
    Last edited by DennisF; 06-14-2014 at 10:51 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisF View Post
    Maybe it doesn't mean anything, but to me it is a red flag that you are here asking about this and not her.
    +1.
    Quote Originally Posted by Impy
    just plain unfriendly and maladjusted.
    "Yes, honey: I do love this bike more than I love you."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisF View Post
    Maybe it doesn't mean anything, but to me it is a red flag that you are here asking about this and not her.
    Nothing to worry about here. I'm just the bike mechanic geek. She's quite interested in sex and enjoys hauling me off to bed and jumping me pretty often. I'm pretty ok with that.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea138 View Post
    I agree this is probably an issue that would warrant talk with the OB/GYN. Personally, my advice to her (if the doctor says that everything seems normal) would be a selection of vibrators and some personal time alone to figure out what "works" for her.
    Best advice on this thread I've seen. Many women have gone long past the age of 25 to experience their first orgasm. Some women never do, some only with toys, etc. They still enjoy having sex, and an orgasm isn't the only thing that matters when being intimate. I find the men are more bothered by a woman not having an orgasm than the woman is.

  20. #20
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    Amazing (to me, at least) is that an old Specialized Men's Alias saddle, (minimal padding, flat, but with a cutout) turned out to be a good option to me when my very expensive Selle Italia Diva started being very uncomfortable.

    The only pressure is directly on the sit bones. However, my sit bones get tired of this and my next try will be a new Men's Alias (if they still make them), but I really want to try the SQLab saddle first.
    The SQLab principle is that your sit bones are perched on the back of the saddle, so no pressure problems. You have to use an ass-o-meter to measure to get the right width, but they have a technique to do that at home.

    I agree with all who encourage your wife to ditch the puffy gel saddle.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by campredcloudbikes View Post
    Women,

    (warning: possible TMI)
    My wife is having, to put it tactfully, physiological difficulty in bed with certain nerves and blood vessels. She is well taken care of in the psychological realm.

    We're now suspecting that years on an ill fitted bike and seat along with leaning too far forward on horseback may have caused nerve damage to her anatomy.

    I've worked through the similar male issues with bike seats and have found a good solution.

    She currently uses a big gel seat with a cutout and commutes 6-20 miles per day at recreational paces in street clothes and is 25 years old. We're now expecting our first child in January too.

    Our current game plan:
    - saddle has been tilted down more in front
    - shorter, higher hand position
    - possibly find a noseless saddle (anyone tried that?)

    Anyone care to share their experiences, struggles, or victories in this realm?

    Thanks!
    Congrats on the pregnancy. So she's about halfway through her pregnancy if she's due in August is my guess, and this problem just started now? Definitely talk to her OB about this. Not prolly ideal to ask a bunch of people on the interwebz who aren't doctors

    Given the variables presented, you need to discuss this with three other people:
    1) your wife
    2) her doc (particularly OB, like suggested below)
    3) a good bike fitter

    We can provide you support and wish you luck (and are prolly curious of the answer), but that's between you and her to be honest.
    MTB4Her.com: mountain bike site for women, by women

  22. #22
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    i may be able to give you non silly answer here I have interstitial cystitis...a chronic painful pelvic disease that affects me in many ways. it has caused me muscle and nerve problems due to chronic pain and "tensing". I've had pelvic physical therapy for this, no joke! you just need to find a specialist.

    at her age, i'd wonder if she's even old enough to have sustained enough damage from horses. Often (with men) it's a longer process than that (like life-long cycling training, or bike cops). Keep in mind too, all ladies are different. Dont go by porn or romance novels for your info, we're a lot more complex than that! Btw, that problem you're speaking of? it affects up to 10% of women. Its not always because of damage or mental problems, it might be a natural lack of sensitivity or the fact that she hasnt totally figured herself out yet. But it's not uncommon.

    i've used noseless saddles before. I bought one because of pain, and pressure on the pudendal nerve. They work good, but they create a slight challenge during MTB because you often need to get forward on the saddle during certain trail challenges. If she's a casual rider, than thats not much of an issue.
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