I assume that most 50 year men who visit their doctors for an annual check-up get reminded that staying active is a good thing and a healthy dose of exercise brings a lot of benefits. One of those benefits is an increase in testosterone levels that can help men “feel young” again. There are plenty of studies that have demonstrated the link between exercise and testosterone levels. One such study had a pretty clear conclusion on that matter:
“We have concluded that short-term, moderate intensity and low volume endurance training can significantly increase testosterone concentration in previously untrained men.”
Testosterone: “Free Viagra, nature’s gift to men!”
If you read this blog on a regular basis you know that I listen to my doctor and do plenty of exercise. So as my athletic ability skyrocketed over the last two years I kept wondering where my manhood was going. That’s when I came across an article on the Livestrong website that said:
“Cycling as little as 3 hours per week increases erectile dysfunction risk by 72 percent, a risk that grows with increased riding time, according to an article published in Psychology Today.”
I rode an average of ten hours per week last year. Look no further. I found where my manhood went.
When your wife also starts wondering where your manhood went, I guess it is human nature not to address this as a medical issue and but to rather find excuses for not being able to perform (off the bike): “Babe, I just rode 1,000 kilometers in eight days and I am a bit tired”; “I have a lot on my mind”; “I love you honey but I am stressed because of work” etc. etc. Heard that from your spouse? Said that to your spouse?
I am 49 and my wife is 52. We have a great relationship and I intend to keep it that way, so when Mary Lou started to think that my lack of performance in the bedroom somehow had something to do with her (not attracted to her anymore, bored to be with her…) I had to take action and that’s when I went to see my doctor. How can an otherwise healthy and active 49 year old man who is still attracted to his wife perform like an unhealthy 70 year old. A few blood tests later I walked into my doctors office for the results and that’s when he announced with a big smile on his face: “I have two good news for you: your sex life is about to get better and you are about to perform better on the bike.” He then handed me a little piece of paper that allows me to “legally dope” and safely increase my libido.
Mary Lou recently wrote a university paper on masculinity and cycling. Reflecting back on it, it is interesting to note that it never crossed my mind to tell my wife to analyze cyclists’ masculinity traits both on and off the bike. One very interesting paragraph in her paper reads as follows: “While one may not initially think of skinny, spandex clad men with smoothly shaved legs as being particularly masculine compared to football players (also sporting tight tights), for example, my research established that the men who participate in this sport distinctly exhibited hegemonic masculine behaviour. (Underlined mine)”
In my case, I can say this is clearly the case. I am an aggressive rider, I like to attack, I like to push myself and others and I like to win. I can get up a hill really fast. The irony is that – according to my doctor – by expressing masculinity with extensive training and racing I ended up with decreased testosterone levels which led to my decreased masculinity where it actually matters.
When you test for testosterone level, the doctor will usually also prescribe other tests to try and find out the cause of the problem. All my results were normal, except for the testosterone level. So in my case, the only logical explanation for a lower than normal testosterone level is “intense training.” Thinking back to how I felt whenever I took time off the bike compared to when I was training, clearly there was a connection between being rested and my libido level.
I am writing this blog post this morning to simply tell the spouses of my riding buddies that if your husband sometimes seems to love his bike more than you then maybe all he needs is a small blood test and he will quickly show his love for you again.