National Spinal Cord Injury Association Resource Center

Factsheet #3:
Sexuality After Spinal Cord Injury

Introduction

The extent to which sexual function is impaired depends on a variety of factors; the level of injury, the severity of damage, and the individual's gender.

Since a spinal cord injury (SCI) affects virtually every system of the human body, many people who sustain SCI have serious concerns about how their injuries have affected their ability to participate in and enjoy a sexual relationship. This document attempts to address some of the more common questions that arise on the topic of sex after a SCI. It also directs the reader to additional sources of more specific information.

Sexual function in humans is controlled by parts of the central nervous system (CNS), particularly the brain and spinal cord. Interruption to the CNS through injury to the spinal cord will therefore have some effect on sexual function. The extent to which sexual function is impaired, however, depends on a variety of factors including the level of injury, the severity of damage to the spinal cord, and whether the individual is male or female.

Topics covered in this fact sheet include:

  • Female Sexual Function After SCI
  • Male Sexual Function After SCI
  • Sexual Sensation After Spinal Cord Injury
  • Body Image
  • Professional Counseling
  • Alternative Lifestyles
  • Sexual Devices
  • Resource Listing

For a complete text of this fact sheet, join NSCIA.

NSCIA, 8/95

NSCIA would like to thank Dan Casady, Thom DeLilla and Robert Oates, M.D., for their help in preparing this fact sheet. This Factsheet is offered as an information service and is not intended to cover all treatments or research in the field nor is it an endorsement of the methods mentioned herein. Any information you may have to offer to further update this Factsheet would be greatly appreciated. The National Spinal Cord Injury Association Resource Center (NSCIRC) provides information and referral on any subject related to spinal cord injury. Contact the resource center at 1-800-962-9629.

 

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