The Aword

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Spinal Cord Injury and Sexuality

E-mail Print PDF

On the Internet, one can find the Sexual Health Network which claims that sexual pleasure is

"still possible even in people with complete spinal cord injury" (SCI).
(note: complete/incomplete SCI is determined by whether there is voluntary rectal contraction and sensation around the rectum)

One should note that around 50% of patients with SCI report the ability to achieve orgasm.

Many report an area of hypersensitivity above the level of spinal injury, that results in sexual arousal (and sometimes orgasm) when stimulated.

Stimulation of ears, neck, breasts or through fantasy can result in orgasm, although SCI patients tend to need a much longer period of stimulation.

It is also important to note that the majority report that they still manage to have sexual enjoyment even without orgasm.

This may seem unbelievable at first glance: how can someone who has complete loss of sensation and movement say, below the waist, still be able to have an active sex life?

The simple explanation is that the sensory input to the brain from the genitals does not rely solely upon sensory nerves entering the lower part of the spinal cord.

Evidence now suggests that nerves above the mid- thoracic level may be involved in transmitting sensory information from the genitals.

It is immensely encouraging to sufferers of conditions such as arachnoiditis or chronic Cauda Equina Syndrome, who may effectively have a partial spinal cord injury, that although there may be sensory loss in the genital area, sexual arousal and even orgasm may still be possible.

"My main concerns were whether I would be able to satisfy a woman-and whether-physically- I would function in a way that would satisfy me? Would the sensation be the same? These were my sorts of concerns."      (Byron).