For one of our ongoing writing projects––more on that in a later blog––we have been researching attitudes towards women athletes in the 20th century. It comes as no surprise that while moderate exercise has long been considered healthy for all, women in the first half of the century were warned of the potential harm to their reproductive systems of engaging in vigorous exercise. Even after World War II, when women worked long, hard hours in factories and played baseball with its attendant running, diving and sliding, the attitude persisted in some quarters that strenuous exercise threatened a woman’s fertility.
Since the 1950s, such pseudo-science about women’s biology seems to have diminished. So, we were astonished to find an article this week in The Daily Telegraph section on Women’s Health an article entitled, “Is the gym ruining your sex life?” Let us say again, this was in the Women’s Health section and made no mention of how men might be ruining a woman’s sex life … or their own.
Here are the five horrible things that could occur through exercise.
- Sensitivity: Studies [which were not cited] have shown “intensive cycling could potentially have a negative impact on a woman’s pelvic floor and cause genital insensitivity” [emphasis ours]. Based on the rationale given for this occurrence, we recommend you wear biking shorts, don’t squirm in the saddle, and /or make sure handlebars are at the right height.
- Self-Confidence: Failing to lose weight through exercise could serious damage one’s self-esteem. Our recommendation is to take up boxing or one of the martial arts; if someone makes a crack about your weight, floor ‘em. Don’t forget to say, “have a nice day” afterwards. It’s very important to be polite when dispatching a jackass.
- Libido: The stress of working out on top of work anxiety, parenting, and running a household could cause one’s reproductive instincts to shut down. There are many ways to attack this. Our favorite is to learn to live with a dirty, messy house. When you are dead and gone, no one will say they miss you because you kept such an immaculate home. Also, it’s ok if someone writes their name in the dust as long as they don’t put the year.
- Injury: You could get hurt and might spend too much time with ibuprofen and hot water bottles to think of sex. Really! We are NOT making this up. Our advice: teach your husband/significant other how to do massages. Better yet, try the Mai Tai method of pain relief.
- It’s expensive: Spending all that money on gym memberships or equipment could stretch your budget, making you anxious; when you are anxious and unhappy, you are not beautiful and your sex life suffers. Yup, that’s what it said. So, we recommend you buy used equipment to keep the cost down, and sneak into the health club so you don’t have to pay. Or better yet, take up running. You can run down the doofuses (or is it “doofi?”) who write such drivel and let them eat your dust.
Feel free to visit the website to read the entire thing, although we’ve given you the best bits.
Now that this blog is written, one of us is off to Nordic ski. (She is letting her dog pull her on skis. She isn’t too worried about his sex life being affected by exercise since he has already been neutered. ) The other, fearful of engaging in too much exercise, is headed for the couch with a mojito and bonbons.