Experienced cyclists can make bike-riding seem effortless and pain-free. But, according to studies, bicycle seats can compress nerves and blood vessels in the very sensitive groin area between the anus and the base of the penis in men and the anus and vagina in women.

This delicate square of flesh is called the perineum and compressing it can lead to nerve damage, swelling and a stoppage of blood flow through arteries found there. What’s more, there’s the possibility that blood vessels can get blocked and lead to temporary or permanent numbness in the groin, uncomfortable tingling, less blood supplied to the penis, impotence, reduced organ sensitivity and a general upping of the ouch factor.

You can avoid these nasties if you take a few precautions: Change position while cycling and shift forward and backward, or stand on the pedals often, to ease pressure on the perineum; tilt your saddle slightly forward; wear shorts with padding in the groin area; adjust your bike’s handlebars and seat post for a more comfortable seated position; and limit the miles you ride each week.