Scientists believe that some sporting activities, like cycling, may improve your sex life. A new research has, however, also found a darker side of riding a bike.

The largest ever study into the relationship between cycling and female sexual health has shown that higher intensity riders have better sex lives, as well as concluding that there’s no relationship between intensity and sexual or urinary function.

Published in March this year, the study comes soon after a similar announcement that cycling is not linked to sexual dysfunction in men, either.

Women who regularly engage in cycling experience an increase in sexual desire, scientists at the University of California in San Francisco found published in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The research concluded that active female bicyclers in general have better sexual function and are less likely to suffer sexual disorders compared to women who don’t do sports.

The US study surveyed 3,118 women from major cycling, swimming and running organizations around the world – 53% of whom were low intensity cyclists, and 13% of whom were ‘high-intensity cyclists’. The latter group had been cycling for over two years, more than three times a week and averaging over 25 miles per ride.

Thus, the research refuted some previous studies suggesting that bike riders are more likely to have serious sexual problems than non-cyclists.

“We found that lifetime miles ridden was associated with better sexual function, as measured by a common, validated questionnaire,” said researcher Thomas W. Gaither, a UCSF medical student.

At the same time, the researchers stressed, that they more often suffer from a urinary tract infection, genital numbness and saddle sores.

Gaither commented: “One of the more novel findings of the study is that lifetime miles ridden were directly correlated with saddle sores and urinary tract infections.

The infections often occur due to the pressure that the seat exerts on the intimate area, “pushing” pathogenic bacteria deep into the body. Long bike rides might also lead to the clamping of blood vessels and, as a consequence, to numbness of the genital organs.