I like to take long bike rides, but often my unit gets numb after a long ride.  Am I doing some kind of permanent damage? -- Barry, Wichita Falls

You’re experiencing what bikers call “sleepy peeny.”

Basically you are compressing the main nerve to the penis, which lies fairly close to the skin under the perineum—the area between a man’s scrotum and his anus.  Many bicycle seats, combined with a forward-leaning riding position, put a lot of pressure on this nerve—and the damage can be long-lasting.

Consider buying a bicycle seat that has a groove or cut-out area down the center to reduce pressure on the nerves and arteries feeding the penis.  You could also experiment with a different handlebar height or configuration to put your body in a more upright position, which will put your weight more on your “sit” bones and less on your perineum.

Dr. Harry Fisch is a board certified urologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Each week, he’ll answer reader questions in an effort to get guys to ‘man up about health.’