Have you suffered spinal cord injuries preventing sex in your relationship? We reached out to several Los Angeles personal injury attorneys and were able to interview a top personal injury attorney, Michael Ehline at Ehline Law Firm. He has over 15 years experience as a spinal cord injury lawyer, and during our talk, he helped provide us with the expertise, authority and trust we needed to discuss these difficulties. So let’s get to the spinal cord injury and sexual activity 101.
A spinal cord injury is one of the worst types of injuries that an individual can experience, as it doesn’t just affect the individual, but poor sexual function also affects the people around them. More specifically, a major change that comes with damage to the spinal cord is sexual activity. Sexual function can become more difficult following such an injury, as it could affect blood pressure to the genital sensation and can make it harder to stay sexually active. Many women with a spinal cord injury may find thy can no longer achieve orgasm, where as men can no longer get hard or maintain an erection during sexual activity.
Well, many men AND women afflicted with T6 or other lesions further up the spine can become afflicted with autonomic dysreflexia after receiving powerful genital stimulation. Many of these victims already have limited mobility and may find themselves off balance, dizzy, or suffering a severe headache. After sex, these men and women may feel lightheadedness or various types of skin flushing, even their penis or vagina may experience a burning sensation or other difficulties post coitus.
However, not all spinal cord injuries are the same since some can even allow the survivor to achieve orgasm during intercourse without harming too much sexual function. While injury victims suffering a spinal cord injury can run into sexual problems following their incident, sexual functioning is still very much possible for them, allowing them to maintain intimacy with their significant other. So sexual function is not always over for everyone with a spinal cord injury.
Not all Spinal cord injuries are the same for a patient
The spinal cord is one of the most complicated sequences of bones in the body, and it is responsible for various functions. However, damage to the spinal cord can also lead to permanent damage. But depending on the location of the injury and its severity, motor and sensory impairment will not change equally.
Therefore, sexual expression can still be a possibility for many survivors, especially male sexuality. A good example to look at is cervical spinal cord injury and lumbar spinal cord injury.
People who have a complete cervical SCI will often lose the ability to move any of their limbs. In some cases, they may even struggle to breathe, which is why they might also need the assistance of other breathing apparatus. This can significantly affect the sex lives of both the survivor and their significant other.
Having sex despite paralysis
Fortunately, human sexuality is often very complicated, which means that individuals with this type of injury can still achieve sexual intimacy through oral sex, mutual masturbation, or with assisted tools that can help their sexual partner feel satisfied. The couple can also get professional medical advice on how they can continue to have sex during the injury.
While cervical injuries can directly affect motor functions for all of your limbs, Lumbar SCI can be very different. Not only does it directly affect to lower region of body, but it can also affect different body parts depending on how complete or incomplete the injury is. People who have a complete lumbar spinal cord injury will often lose feeling in their lower half, which can often lead to bowel and bladder accidents. Therefore, this type of injury can lead to sexual issues between the couple.
Incomplete Lumbar injury victims
However, if the injury is incomplete, then there is a chance that the lower half of the body is only partially affected. The blood vessels can still transfer blood easily, and the nerve endings are only partially damaged. So people can feel their legs but cannot move them or have very little range of movement. Very few men can even have an erection in this particular state. Some will even be able to walk a short distance with crutches and other types of walking aid.
Optional birth control
In some instances, birth control can also become optional. And a regular bowel program is not possible for some people, which means that they will not be able to produce sperm due to low blood pressure or high blood pressure.
Spinal cord injury following a car accident: getting an erection
Following a spinal cord injury, many men are concerned that they will not be able to erect when they want or need to. While it is possible that certain types of these injuries can affect the individual’s ability to get erections, it is not very common. Most spinal cord injury survivors can become erect, especially if the necessary triggers are met.
The two types of triggers to a man’s Sex life
There are two types of main triggers that can allow men to get erections. These include psychogenic triggers and reflex triggers. Reflex triggers may also be referred to as reflex erections since they react to physical stimuli.
The reflex erection occurs when a physical or reflex trigger is activated. Simply put, the partner touching the individual is enough to help form an erection. Of course, they do not have just to touch the individual’s genital area, but they can also touch any part of their body that still has a proper sensory reaction.
These triggers focus on arousal through visual or auditory stimuli, which can allow for more erotic thoughts. But an erection that is a result of sexual thoughts is the result of the psychogenic triggers.
The type of erection that most people are likely to have
The most common type of erection that men who suffer from SCI are likely to have is a reflex erection. Psychogenic triggers travel from the brain to the genital area, which means that they can often be the first to go for a wounded person.
However, the nerves responsible for the reflex triggers are about halfway down the spine, which makes them less likely to be affected. Therefore, paralyzed individuals may still be able to get an erection through physical touch on places other than their erogenous zones like their penis.
Reproductive function and orgasm
Along with being able to achieve an erection, it is also possible for men to fulfill their reproductive function and impregnate their partner. Furthermore, ejaculating or masturbating can greatly help many men deal with some symptoms of SCI, in particular, their pain and depression.
Many medical professionals will also recommend that survivors, including a woman, continue to have a sex life to give their life a sense of normalcy that might otherwise be missing.
Getting used to life an SCI survivor
One of the most important things with surviving an SCI is trying to get back to a normal life. Romantic fulfillment is not just for able-bodied people, as the survivors’ partner satisfaction is still possible despite your current situation. Disabled people may be worried about their body image, but they will still be able to enjoy the company of their significant other. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation if you were hurt in a car accident, for example. You may be entitled compensation if that is the case and a lawyer at a professional law office can help you learn about the disability and solutions.
So if you have sexual problems in your relationship after such a scenario, it make sense to get some free legal advice about financial support to pay for improving intimate sexual issues with help from a doctor or other patient specialist.