Les lanternes rouges: the race for information about cycling-related female sexual dysfunction

J Sex Med. 2014 Aug;11(8):2039-47. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12606. Epub 2014 Jun 25.


Introduction: Cycling is growing in popularity among women. As in men, it is associated with genital neuropathies and decreased sensation in female riders. However, there is a gap in research and information addressing the relationship between cycling and female sexual dysfunction (FSD) in women.

Aims: To review the literature investigating pelvic floor injuries and sexual dysfunction in female cyclists.

Methods: Searches in several electronic databases were conducted, and relevant articles that met the inclusion criteria were identified for critical review.

Main outcome measures: The main outcome measure to be determined was the strength of the current body of evidence in published literature of a correlation between cycling-related pelvic floor injuries and FSD.

Results: Data on FSD from cycling-related injuries in women are limited. Research indicates that bicycle setup and riding equipment may be contributing factors. Women's ergonomics and physiology interact differently with the bicycle than men's. Current evidence offers insufficient foundation to recommend various effect-mitigating equipment and products.

Conclusions: While gender-specific cycling products offer a promising direction for protecting women riders, studies addressing FSD and pelvic floor injuries in women cyclists are inadequate to indicate clear etiology or provide treatment recommendations. Current evidence is also insufficient to recommend effect-mitigating equipment and products.

Keywords: Bicycling; Female Sexual Dysfunction; Neuropathy; Pelvic Floor Injuries; Pudendal Nerve.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / injuries
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Floor / injuries*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*