Women and sex after SCI
Our SCI nurse specialist, Debbie Green, explores the most common questions women ask about sex after a spinal cord injury
Will I be able to have sex again?
Yes, you will! It’s likely to be different and you might have to learn new ways and means. Sensations might be different and you’ll need to think about preparing in advance which can take the spontaneity out of things. You’ll have altered bladder and bowel function now, so you might need to empty your bladder and bowel beforehand.
What other things can I expect to be different?
Quite often vaginal lubrication can be affected after a spinal cord injury. Your vagina might be quite dry which could make sexual activity uncomfortable. Water-based lubricating gels can help with dryness – there are lots of types available.
How can I best position myself for sex?
This will depend on the level of your injury – you might be capable of positioning yourself – and on whether you suffer from spasm. If you’ve got other issues like pressure ulcers already, the type of surface you’re on might make a difference.
Will I experience orgasm?
You’re unlikely to experience orgasm in the way you once did. Many women say they experience a form of climax and that can be related to vaginal penetration or sometimes to stimulation in other parts of the body where senses can become more heightened like the breasts, neck, or ear lobes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with sex aids such as vibrators.
Taking time to explore your own body and then working with your partner to show them where your needs are helps open conversations and can take pleasure to a different level for both of you.
Can I get pregnant?
Yes. Although menstruation can stop for several months after a SCI, newly injured women have fallen pregnant before their periods started again. There’s no evidence that fertility is adversely affected after injury so make sure to use protection if you’re not looking to start a family.
Pregnancy can come with its own set of complications including greater chance of urinary tract infections, constipation and pressure ulcers.
The SCI Powder Room on Facebook. This is a female-only, private group covering personal, sensitive and female-related topics.
Sex and the Spine – easily accessible and trusted resources on sexual well-being from professional experts.
Spokz – Online shop offering products aimed at enhancing sexual wellbeing for disabled people
Sexual Health and Disability Alliance (SHADA) are involved in the positive promotion of sex for disabled people. This link provides a list of numerous sex-related resources
If you would like to discuss any of the issues mentioned above with someone 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.