Saddle sores are real. A real pain in the groin. Oral sex is the opposite.
But to combine the two, no thanks.
I thought by becoming a cyclist I would improve my health, my mental well-being, and you know, have some killer legs from it. What I didn’t realize was that with constant biking, it also comes with consequences. And these little consequences turn me off from any sort of play in the nether regions. I know I’m not the only one who experiences chafing, irritation, ingrown hairs, friction burn, inflammation, etc… from riding her bike a little too hard. And who wants to perform oral sex on a angry vulva? I don’t want your beard or stubble to chafe what’s already inflamed.
I google’d it and there’s a plethora of advice on how to prevent and heal these “consequences.”
Unfortunately, most of these tips were really broad and not very helpful, and all pointed to the fact that it’s trial and error. But who really has the time (and patience) to try out different creams, glides, sticks, chamois, and saddles? Well, apparently, we’re all going to have to because, just like a beautiful tulip…or a fingerprint, our beautiful vulvas are just as unique. A saddle that fits me may not fit the woman riding next to me; same goes with all the different creams and sticks.
Here are a few things I’m learning as I conquer this “Save-My-Vulva” quest:
1. Use a chafing stick (looks like a deodorant stick) AND cream.
I first started with just the cream: Hoo Ha Ride Glide and I used it sparingly because I’m cheap and it’s expensive. My groin skin still became irritated after long rides.
Now I’m using Chamois Butt’r Her AND the stick and I apply both liberally. I noticed a difference, both in my very moist chamois and my skin after rides. It felt like a wet diaper or something, but my skin wasn’t as pissed as usual.
2. Pick a seat. This is the worst trial and error.
I bought a new bike and with that very expensive purchase, I received a “free” custom fit. I explained to the man that my crotch is always sore after rides. We’ve tried a couple different seats and I think the one I’m on a good one. I also realized I rotate my hips forward, which puts pressure of my crotch a lot more. I’m also called a “snake” because of this. I now am more mindful about my sit bones when I’m on the saddle and I try to adjust how I sit throughout my rides too.
3. New chamois every time.
Truth time. I have worn previously-worn chamois before and while it wasn’t totally gnarly, this still wreaks havoc on my nether regions and it ends up not being worth it. I would rather just wash them after a ride and go through that hassle instead of putting on dirty, sweaty, bacteria-infested shorts. Also, don’t sit in them after a ride. I have done this after organized rides because I don’t really have a choice, and again, my crotch and arse are not happy once I get home 12 hours later.
4. Thorough cleaning afterwards.
After a ride, I take a hot shower and really clean my crotch. I’m a big sweater, which contributes to acne in places where acne shouldn’t be. This sweat definitely doesn’t help with irritation in my groin either. Depending on the day and how chafed I am, after my shower I will take rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and give my arse and crotch a quick once-over. This helps dry the skin from all the sweat. I’ll use witch hazel if it’s not too bad because this is nicer on the skin, but still have the effects of cleaning it and removing gunk. For skin that’s really irritated, I’ll use Doc’s Natural Saddle Ointment to soothe the pain. If I’m out of that, I’ll just use coconut oil because that can apparently be used for everything. I also don’t wear underwear most of the time so I don’t further irritate my groin. I mean, there’s really no underwear, thong, g-string, booty shorts, etc… that doesn’t rub your groin.
5. To shave or not to shave.
The jury’s still out on this one. I have read an equal number of accounts stating to go either way.
Pros of shaving/waxing: less friction, sweat not getting stuck in pubic hair, etc…
Pros of letting it grow: Less ingrown hairs, more cushion/fluff, etc…
Like I said, I haven’t read much specific information about this; it’s really broad and I wonder if it’s because this is still a taboo subject. Like, lady parts are just that: lady parts. They don’t get irritated or chafed. There aren’t screaming red bumps. It’s a pretty pink tulip waiting for some man to lick the pretty pink edges. Well, I hate to break it to the world, but vulvas are incredibly sensitive, some more so than others, and yes, chafing, irritation, ingrown hairs, friction burn, and inflammation are real things. It’s certainly a problem if I want to play around and it’s too sore. I just want it to feel loved and happy and it’s a total bummer when it has to be out of service because I’m out of cream or stick or new chamois.
August 29, 2015 is the Venus de Miles ride: an all-women’s bike ride and I know I’ll be in good company when complaining about my sensitive crotch then.