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Spinal Cord Injury Paralysis Resource Center

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Sexual Health

The Paralysis Resource Center has divided the Sexual Health section by gender. The Sexuality for Men category includes a brief overview of male sexual function and the effects of paralysis. The Sexuality for Women area includes basic information on female sexual function, including childbearing and childcare. 

Sexual identity is a significant and encompassing aspect of one's personality – sexuality plays an essential role in how we feel about ourselves, how we relate to others, how others relate to us.

To be sure, paralysis often affects peoples’ sexuality, including changes in physical functioning, sensation and response.  Self-image can be shaken. People wonder if they can have sex again at all, whether they can attract a partner, whether the partner will stay, whether having children is possible.

While the range of sexual options may be different, physical attraction and sexual activity are realisic expectations – no matter the level or completeness of paralysis. Sexual pleasure is possible. Paralyzed women can have children; paralyzed men can be dads. Paralyzed people can have loving and lasting relationships.

The key to successfully redefining one’s sexual identity is experimentation and open communication. It helps to understand the anatomy and physiology of sexual function and sexual response. It may also help to connect with appropriate resources and knowledgeable health care professionals or counselors to best come to grips with the available options.     

VIDEO: Watch Gary Karp, internationally recognized public speaker and author, give a talk on the impact of traumatic change on sexuality and intimate activity.

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Sex and Pregnancy for Females (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Sexuality for Males (PDF)

CareCure CommunityRelationships and Sexuality Forum

New MobilityNew Mobility magazine features a web discussion forum called Wheels, Relationships and Sexuality.

Rehabilitation Institute of ChicagoSpinal Cord Injury: Sexuality

SexualhealthSexualhealth is a website featuring information on sexual function and pleasure for people with disabilities.

University of Miami School of MedicineSexuality in Spinal Cord Injury

Paralysis Resource Center The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

Reeve Foundation Online Paralysis Community Connecting people living with paralysis, families, friends and caregivers so we can share support, experience, knowledge, and hope.

Quality of Life Grants DatabaseFind resources within the PRC Quality of Life Grants Database. Search by Zip Code, State or an Entire Category.

Library Books and VideosFind resources within the PRC library catalog.

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The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern U.S. Time. International callers use 973-467-8270. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90PR3001, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.