Sex Life During the First 10 Years After Spinal Cord Injury: A Qualitative Exploration

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  • Sanne Angel
  • Thilo Kroll, University College Dublin, Dublin

The influence of a spinal cord injury on sexuality must be seen in the light of sexuality being a central aspect of being human according to WHO. The term is broad and covers many aspects of being. The focus in this paper is the lived experiences of sex life with a spinal cord injury understood as sex being a part of life. The aim of the study was to explore the experiences of sex life from the onset of a spinal cord injury to 10 years after. The fact that sex life after a spinal cord injury cannot be separated from what it means to have a ‘damaged spine’ and how this impact on a person’s life was illuminated in interviews collected among ten participants during 10 years after the injury. The themes of re-establishing a sex life consisted of overcoming hinderances related to the body, the self, and the partner. (1) Handling physical impairment, (2) feeling attractive despite physical changes, (3) establishing and sustaining a sexual relationship, (4) regaining a sex life by finding new ways, (5) losing sex life and maybe also intimacy. This was an elongated process with many challenges related to returning to an everyday life. The findings indicated a need for professional support. The consequences for the relationship and hence the sex life as well as the loss thereof with all that it implies point out that couples therapy could be beneficial.

TidsskriftSexuality and Disability
Sider (fra-til)107-121
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2020

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