Numbness of the genitals

Feelings of numbness while riding a bike?

Permanently high pressure on the perineal area when cycling often results in numbness and less often in pain. Special nerves, fibres and vessels in the perineal area can reduce the blood flow if the saddle is too narrow, soft or unsuitable. SQlab step saddles in the right width offer more freedom.  


Causes of numbness

Saddle too narrow
Saddle too narrow
Saddle with a wrong shape
Saddle with a wrong shape
Saddle too soft
Saddle too soft

Numbness often appears as a symptom for compressed nerves and/or reduced blood flow in the perineal area. Special nerves and blood vessels in the perineal area of men are responsible for the erection. 

If the blood supply to these is reduced or they are compressed for any extended periods of time, this can lead to reduced sexual performance. This process is reversible, as after a longer period off the bike this process is usually reversed and the usual sexual performance returns.


  Caution! The problem can become chronical. Numbness is an alarm signal! Those who listen to their body can minimise the risks so that the positive effects of training prevail. Cycling is a fantastic heart-circulation-training and hence improves sexual performance.



Saddle to narrow 

Cause - saddle too narrow

leads to discomfort to the sit bones and an increased pressure on the perineal area

SQlab Solution 

Sit bone measurement to determine the individual saddle width

More performance - less pain 

A saddle should fit like a pair of shoes! If a saddle is too narrow, then it presses exactly in the spots where it shouldn’t. Back in 2002, SQlab was the first saddle manufacturer to introduce a system to measure the distance between the sit bones and to calculate the optimal saddle width. As a result, all SQlab saddle models are available in up to four different widths. 
This guarantees that your sitting bones lie completely flat on the saddle. This is the only way to relieve pressure to the sensitive areas in both men’s and women’s bodies that are affected by hard saddles. > Read more about the sit bone measurement 

Wrong saddle shape 

Cause - wrong saddle shape 

leads to an increased pressure in the perineal area 

SQlab Solution 

Step saddle with an optimum pressure distribution in accordance with medical advice

More free space – less pressure!

Persistently high pressure on the perineum expresses less in pain but more in feelings of numbness. However, this alarm signal should always be observed. Even if “deaf” means at first that nothing is felt, so it is not a direct pain that otherwise warns us of dangers for the body.
The pressure on the sit bone can be a little uncomfortable at first – until you get used to it – but it is a sign for the right saddle.  For men who need a little more space, the SQlab step saddle creates more free space and is therefore ideal. > Read more about the step saddle concept 

Too soft saddle 

Cause - too soft saddle 

leads to sinking sit bones

SQlab Solution 

SQlab saddle models in different saddle firmnesses adapted to riding duration and area of use

A too soft saddle usually becomes very uncomfortable after approx. 30 – 45 minutes on the bike.

The sit bones sink in so far, that sensitive soft tissue such as muscle and tendons are aggravated. After approx. 30 – 40 minutes a dull deep pressing pain sets in.

The sinking in of the sit bones also causes the perineal area in men and the lower positioned pubic bone arch in women to be subjected to higher pressure. Specifically, soft padding will effectively stop the blood flow. It is rare that the padding is so soft that the saddle shell causes the discomfort.

SQlab Solution
Soft saddles are generally only suitable for short distances!
The pelvis

When sitting normally, the sitbones support the body‘s weight and have the capability to withstand high pressure. This should also be the case when riding a bicycle. With an athletic riding position, the perineal area of men and the lower positioned pubic bone arch of women on the saddle.

The well branched out network of nerves and blood vessels of the perineal area reaches from the anus via the genitals to the upper pubic bone arch. On the sides it reaches past the pubic bones. 

These are capable of carrying a small weight – but a pressure reduction is essential. An even pressure reduction in the perineal area and the pubic bones is achieved through the lowered nose of our SQlab step saddle concept.

The sitting position

When sitting, the sitbones (areas marked in green) serve the purpose of supporting the body’s weight, hence they can endure a high load and pressure. They should also be utilised in this way when riding a bike.


In a dynamic riding position the contact point moves from the tip of the sitbones, forwards along the pubic arch to the pubic bone and the central perineal area is used for resting on for both genders. Women however, typically have a lower pubic arch which can result in higher pressure from the saddle nose when riding in a dynamic riding position. The surface area the riders weight is resting on is especially critical in a very dynamic and forward riding position and in such a case the riders weight should not only be supported in the centre but also on the pubic bone.


The sitbone and pubic bones both come together from their widest points in a “V” shape. This means the more dynamic the riding position, the narrower the saddle is allowed to, and should be.

Already in 2002 we developed a simple equation which uses the distance of the sitbone tips in dependence of the riding positing to calculate the perfect saddle width. This method has meanwhile been established globally. The method may be interpreted slightly differently from different saddle manufacturers and many leave the adjustment equation away all together, but our basic concept is used in all of these measuring methods.


The flexibility of the spine has much less influence on the positioning of the pelvis as often assumed. Spine and pelvis should remain in a natural position relative to each other and not be forced into a certain position, even if the body is very flexible.


Especially with the SQlab step saddle it is no longer necessary to tilt the pelvis backwards as the typical pressure zone of the perineal area and pelvis arch no longer pose a problem due to the lowered position of the saddle nose. The energy which is often required to hold the pelvis upright while the upper body taks a dynamic and forward position is no longer required with the SQlab step saddle and can instead be used for pedalling and propelling the bike forward. In addition, there is substantially less load on the spinal discs.