Crotch pain from cycling is a common problem for those who have just taken up cycling.
Even on a very upright bike with a nice cushioned saddle you will experience quite a bit of crotch pain from cycling at first.
This is because the nerve endings in the skin down there are very sensitive. It’s an important area after all, so our brain likes to know if something is up! We call these nerve endings “mechanoreceptors”.
During the first ride or two these mechanoreceptors are firing off like crazy. They are not used to this level of stimulus in the form of pressure and friction. The brain looks at this info from the mechanorecptors and thinks…
🧠 “well, those guys are going nuts, there must be something very unusual going on down there, lets produce the experience of pain so this idiot takes it easy”
So you feel pain in the saddle area. After 6-7 rides something interesting starts to happen in the brain. Those mechanorecptors are still going nuts, however, there hasn’t been any tissue damage. If you have a look at the skin in that area (if you were so inclined) you wouldn’t see any redness, swelling or saddle sores (lumps that look a bit like mosquito bites). You would just see normal skin.
Since there has been no tissue damage or inflammation the brain is now thinking…
🧠 “well, those mechanoreceptors are still going off like crazy, but there hasn’t really been any damage. Let’s ignore those messages a bit as those receptors are clearly overreacting. In fact, I’ll send a memo to those mechanoreceptors to chill out a bit”
So that’s what they do. The mechanoreceptors become less sensitive as they habituate to the new stimulus.
After a week or two that nasty saddle soreness will go away. If you ride a lot more, be sure to keep an eye on the skin for saddle sores (which can be a problem further down the road).