Sexuality and Spinal Cord Injury

More is Possible, 25.03.2024

Sexuality is a fundamental human need, but it's often difficult to discuss, both for the individuals affected and for parts of the medical team, due to feelings of shame. Not everyone places the same importance on sexuality. We encourage open discussion about sexuality without taboos. It's important to reach out to a trusted person to talk about it.


Sexuality in Women with Spinal Cord Injury

Women may experience various signs of sexual arousal after a spinal cord injury. The natural moisture of the vagina, important for sexuality, may be affected. In such cases, the use of a simple lubricant can help. Changes in sexual response, such as different or absent orgasm sensations, may occur after a spinal cord injury. It often takes more time to reach orgasm, and orgasms may be perceived differently. Occasionally, orgasms can trigger autonomic dysreflexia or spasms, which can be uncomfortable. Menstruation may cease for up to a year after a traumatic spinal cord injury, but fertility is usually not affected afterward. Therefore, contraception should still be considered.

Sexuality in Men with Spinal Cord Injury

Erections in men may be affected after a spinal cord injury, and ejaculation may be more difficult. Your doctor or urologist can discuss medical options for support. Sensation in the affected area may also be compromised, necessitating alternative stimulation. While orgasms are possible, they may be experienced differently, and spasms may occur. The amount of semen may be reduced or flow back into the bladder, leading to a lack of ejaculation. However, reproductive medicine can assist men with spinal cord injuries in fathering children, although this typically requires medical assistance.

The information above is from a publication by the University Hospital Balgrist titled "Spinal Cord Injury in Daily Life." For more in-depth discussions, individuals can consult doctors specializing in neuro-urology. 

We highly recommend the book "Sexuality in Spinal Cord Injury – Answers to Your Questions". [2]

Citation Source Information


[2] Sexualität bei Querschnittlähmung – Antworten auf Ihre Fragen, Stanley H. Ducharme, Kathleen M. Gill; Verlag Hans Huber; ISBN 978-3-456-83933-2