SCI Sex life

Although spinal cord injury (SCI) often causes sexual dysfunction, many people with SCI are able to have satisfying sex lives. Physical limitations acquired from SCI affect sexual function and sexuality in broader areas, which in turn has important effects on quality of life. Damage to the spinal cord impairs its ability to transmit messages between the brain and parts of the body below the level of the lesion. This results in lost or reduced sensation and muscle motion, and affects orgasm, erection, ejaculation, and vaginal lubrication. More indirect causes of sexual dysfunction include pain, weakness, and side effects of medications. Psycho-social causes include depression and altered self-image. However, many people with SCI have satisfying sex lives, and many experience sexual arousal and orgasm. People with SCI employ a variety of adaptations to help carry on their sex lives healthily, by focusing on different areas of the body and types of sexual acts. Neural plasticity may account for increases in sensitivity in parts of the body that have not lost sensation, so people often find newly sensitive erotic areas of the skin in erogenous zones or near borders between areas of preserved and lost sensation.

Drugs, devices, surgery, and other interventions exist to help men achieve erection and ejaculation. Although male fertility is reduced, many men with SCI can still father children, particularly with medical interventions. Women’s fertility is not usually affected, although precautions must be taken for safe pregnancy and delivery. People with SCI need to take measures during sexual activity to deal with SCI effects such as weakness and movement limitations, and to avoid injuries such as skin damage in areas of reduced sensation. Education and counseling about sexuality is an important part of SCI rehabilitation but is often missing or insufficient. Rehabilitation for children and adolescents aims to promote healthy development of sexuality and includes education for them and their families. Culturally inherited biases and stereotypes negatively affect people with SCI, particularly when held by professional caregivers. Body image and other insecurities affect sexual function, and have profound repercussions on self-esteem and self-concept. SCI causes difficulties in romantic partnerships, due to problems with sexual function and to other stresses introduced by the injury and disability, but many of those with SCI have fulfilling relationships and marriages. Relationships, self-esteem, and reproductive ability are all aspects of sexuality, which encompasses not just sexual practices but a complex array of factors: cultural, social, psychological, and emotional influences.

Hope you found this information useful. I personally did not know much about people affected with SCI particularly regarding their sex life.


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Source: Wiki & SCIorg|Image Cred: Systems Care

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