Vibrating bike seats and the female orgasm

My newsfeed on Facebook was abuzz yesterday (pun intended, sorry)  with talk of a vibrating bike seat cover.

See Vibrating bicycle seat ought to make bikes more popular and Happy Ride Vibrating Bicycle Seat.

“The Happy Ride, made by Sexshop365 (which sounds like a terrible OKCupid username but is a British adult toy store), is a bicycle seat that vibrates while you pedal around. The controls are hidden in a discreet pocket in the back, so you can adjust it to your preferred level of stimulation, from “oooooh, this guy might door me, how titillating” to “OH GOD THE LIGHT’S TURNING RED, HANG ON, I’M COMINNNNNG.” (Incidentally, PLEASE wear your helmet. Let’s all practice safe bike sex.)”

I’m good with orgasms and sex toys but the bike seat -sex toy combo seems like a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea.

Obviously there are practical worries. Don’t try this out in a fast moving paceline or in city traffic. But also I don’t think it’s as sex positive as it first seems. I actually think it reflects anxiety about women’s athleticism and women’s bodies, particularly in the context of a sport that requires women to have something between our legs. It must be that we are enjoying it, so here, enjoy it even more.

To put this in a historical context, see Bike seats, speed, and sexual depravity

Writing about doctors reaction to women on bikes in the 1800s, Ellen Gruber Garvey says:

“In an outpouring of numerous articles in medical journals, physicians went into extensive and virtually prurient detail about ways the bicycle saddle might produce sexual stimulation: The saddle can be tilted in every bicycle as desired…. In this way a girl… could, by carrying the front peak or pommel high, or by relaxing the stretched leather in order to let it form a deep, hammock-like concavity which would fit itself snugly over the entire vulva and reach up in front, bring about constant friction over the clitoris and labia. This pressure would be much increased by stooping forward, and the warmth generated from vigorous exercise might further increase the feeling. This physician reported the case of an “overwrought, emaciated girl of fifteen whose saddle was arranged so that the front pommel rode upward at an angle of about 35 degrees, who stooped forward noticeably in riding, and whose actions … strongly suggested … the indulgence of masturbation.” Although the patient is evidently worn to a frazzle by her fevered indulgence, the imagery of this physician’s first passage seems to reflect concern that female masturbation is a kind of indolence or relinquishment of vigilance: the leather is “relaxed”; the vulva rests in that signal article of Victorian leisure furniture, a hammock.”

Okay, so then they were concerned that women might be using bikes to masturbate. Now sex toy manufacturers want to help women reach sexual satisfaction on a bicycle. Is the world a better place?

No, actually, or at least not much, because the association of bikes with female orgasm is still lingering around. Then they were bad, now they’re good, but still the association of women, bikes, and orgasms hangs on.  I mean, biking for an orgasm makes much more sense than riding for fitness, speed, or practical transportation. Not.

I kind of wish they go back to bugging women who rode horses…..

Joke deleted as insensitive to women riders. See comment below. It’s tiresome all round. No woman, whatever her physical activity of choice, needs it.

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