Dear Dr. Kate,
As a full-time student with a full-time job in a very bike-friendly college town, I ride my bike a lot (3-10 miles daily). However, I’ve noticed that after a lot of riding, I do not feel all too comfortable down there. I’ve bought a new bike seat and, from a quick porn-viewing/Google image search, I’ve concluded that I don’t have an unusually large clit. What I’m wondering is, can I injure my clitoris or reduce sensitivity from daily bike rides?
— Saddle Sore
Dear Saddle Sore,
There’s no evidence that you can injure or impair clitoral sensation from repeated friction and/or pressure…but it also hasn’t been studied in a clinical trial! My advice would be, if something causes you chronic pain, change what you’re doing, because chronic irritation isn’t good for any body part. A new bike seat is a good start — experiement with different styles until you find the right fit. Also, you could apply a silicone-based lubricant or Vaseline to the clitoral hood and labia to help prevent chafing (though probably not directly on the clitoris itself). FYI, silicone lube will wash off more easily than Vaseline, which is probably a good thing if you’re sensitive to irritation since Vaseline has a tendency to linger. Whatever you end up doing, however, I doubt that long-term injury would occur from bike-riding.
— Dr. Kate
Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. Check out more of her advice and ask her a question at Gynotalk.com.