Can you feel the love tonight?
In advance of Valentine’s Day, we asked our members whether their spinal cord injury had made their sex lives more adventurous or whether it had the opposite effect. *
68% of people said their love life continued but in a different way to before, with changes in sensation and mobility leading them to experiment with new things in the bedroom
Many people who replied were still in the same relationship as when they became SCI although 32% said their relationship had broken up since their accident (or illness).
71% said their body image had been affected resulting in low self-confidence
For those who were single 47% said they felt reluctant to try dating again since their injury, and 71% told us their body image had been affected resulting in low self-confidence.
David Eastham, our support coordinator for the north west, sustained his SCI when he was 20 years old. He tried dating not long after his accident, but with little luck initially:
I was told sex was possible, but with the lack of sexual function, I’d just need to use Viagra. It didn’t work. I kept my fingers crossed every day that sensation would return. Things didn’t work out with her and that really knocked my confidence
Of the people who responded to our survey, 34% found that their sex life ended abruptly when they became SCI, with 20% saying they gave up trying to have sex after a few attempts. Just under 50% were still maintaining a sexual relationship with half of these saying they’d reached a stage in their long-term relationship where sex was less important to them than it once was, so they had adjusted well after injury.
35% told us they were willing to try anything to help find their missing mojo, and this had led to an improvement in their love lives. 28% told us they had introduced specialist sex toys and furniture to enhance their enjoyment.
You use what’s available – your hands, mouth. It works – we’re very happy and have a good sex life
David is now in a loving, long-term relationship.
“You have to adapt and change things. We’re quite open – things go wrong but you laugh and learn. I use a penile injection now which is stronger and more effective than Viagra; it’s maybe not the most romantic thing, but you adapt. You use what’s available – your hands, mouth. It works – we’re very happy and have a good sex life.”
Find out more about David and read our Q&A session with our SCI specialist nurses by clicking the link below:
There will also be further articles and information on this subject in our Spring issue of FORWARD – for more details about how to subscribe to FORWARD visit our online shop.
Join us online
To continue the Valentine’s theme we will be holding an online cafe on Wednesday 16 February to share experiences of dating, sex and relationships after SCI. Our special guest will be Tony, already known to some of you as one of the 2 SCI Chefs.
Come along and join the discussion.
If you would like to discuss any of the issues mentioned above with someone like David who has lived experience of SCI visit our support page to find the contact for your area. Alternatively you can ring our support line on 0800 980 0501 or request a call from one of our SCI specialist nurses.
*The survey was completed by 100 SIA members on 4 Feb 2022.