Sexuality and reproductive health after paralysis

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on April 24, 2019 # Health

Sexual satisfaction is an important factor in overall well-being and quality of life, whether you’re living with paralysis or not. Every individual’s recovery post-injury is different. For some, sex is at the top of their mind after sustaining a spinal cord injury, while for others a return to sexual activity may be a lower priority.

Navigating the physical, emotional, and psychological issues that come up around sexual well-being and reproductive health after paralysis can be challenging. However, talking about issues and asking questions can help answer the unknowns and clear misconceptions about sexual health with paralysis.

To help individuals living with paralysis navigate their sexual health post-injury, we’ve released an informational booklet on sexuality and reproductive health. The booklet serves as a guide offering an overview of what to expect and pointing you to reliable resources where you can learn more about individual topics regarding sexuality and reproduction according to your own needs. The booklet covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Sexual function post-injury
  • A revisit on sexual education
  • Having “the talk” again
  • Dating while paralyzed
  • Psychological adjustment
  • How sex changes after injury
  • Arousal vs orgasm and ejaculation
  • Sexual difficulties affecting men and women differently
  • Sexual pleasure post-injury
  • Reproductive health, fertility, and family planning

The booklet also covers the physical and practical considerations regarding sexuality after paralysis, such as:

  • Autonomic Dysreflexia (AD)
  • Bladder and bowel issues
  • Protecting limbs and joints
  • Skin care
  • STDs and birth control

Individuals living with paralysis can anticipate having an active, satisfying sex life, even if it looks different than the one they had before. Having children is also a reality for many people living with paralysis. Being equipped with clear, accurate information, knowing what to expect, and taking steps to explore new-to-you aspects of sex and sexuality without judgment or undue anxiety will help successfully navigate the journey of sexuality post-injury and sustain sexual and reproductive well-being.

To get a copy of our Sexuality & Reproductive Health After Paralysis booklet, call our Information Specialist team at 800-539-7309 or go to

You can also check out our private and safe forum, Reeve Connect and talk to others in the Sexual Intimacy group.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.