Bummer news for cycling advocates. Word’s long been around that spending too much time on a bike seat can impair your performance in the bedroom. Now, researchers in this arena are getting even more adamant in their admonitions.

A New York Times article — the No. 1 most-emailed on their site for the second day running — highlights mounting evidence that frequent cycling by men can lead to a damaged perineum, loss of libido, “small calcified masses inside the scrotum,” and/or impotence. Women, though less studied than men in this area, are also thought to be at risk.

Dr. Steven Schrader, a reproductive health expert who studies cycling at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said he believed that it was no longer a question of “whether or not bicycle riding on a saddle causes erectile dysfunction.”

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Instead, he said in an interview, “The question is, What are we going to do about it?”

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… The link between bicycle saddles and impotence first received public attention in 1997 when a Boston urologist, Dr. Irwin Goldstein, who had studied the problem, asserted that “there are only two kinds of male cyclists — those who are impotent and those who will be impotent.”

The hope is that better-designed bicycle seats can save the day. Otherwise, all those new bike owners may soon lose their steel steeds, for fear of losing something they care about a whole lot more.