Spinal Cord Injury: Talking With Your Partner About Sex

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Spinal Cord Injury: Talking With Your Partner About Sex

Topic Overview

Talking with your partner may help your sexual function, whether it be erection problems for men or lack of arousal for women. Couples often wrongly assume that they each know what the other person likes when it comes to sex, but likes and dislikes may change after a spinal cord injury (SCI).

  • Talk about how the SCI has affected your sexual function and sex life, and talk about how you feel about it. Be open, honest, and respectful.
  • Don't assume. Tell your partner what you do and don't find pleasurable.
  • Make time outside of the bedroom to talk about your sex life together. If you withdraw sexually because of body image, fear of erection problems, or fear of not satisfying your partner, he or she may worry that you are no longer interested. In some cases, you may find that your partner is less concerned about intercourse and is more concerned and interested in foreplay and other forms of sexual satisfaction. Discuss the strong and weak points of the whole relationship, not just the sexual relationship.
  • Identify positive areas, areas of conflict, and areas that need improvement. Come to agreement on how or if you will both make changes.
  • If you have difficulty discussing sex with your partner, see a person who can help facilitate communication, such as a certified therapist.
  • Read books with your partner on sexual health in those with SCIs.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Nancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Last Revised April 14, 2011

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