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  • 1.
    Westgren, Ninni
    et al.
    Spinalis SCI Research Unit, Karolinska Hospital and Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Family Medicine,Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden .
    Levi, Richard
    Spinalis SCI Research Unit, Karolinska Hospital and Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Family Medicine,Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden .
    Sexuality After Injury: Interviews with Women After Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury1999In: Sexuality and disability, ISSN 0146-1044, E-ISSN 1573-6717, Vol. 7, no 4, p. 309-319Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this study is to illuminate sexual experiences in women after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), including psychological, physical and social barriers that will have to be overcome to resume a sexually active life with a partner. Interviews with eight women were performed. The women were 20–43 years old, previously healthy, with experience of stable heterosexual relationships both before and after SCI. The interviews covered three main areas: 1. The first sexual contact after injury: expectations, concerns, outcome; 2. Communication with partner on sexual matters, before and after injury; and 3. Sexual activity after injury: limitations, compensatory strategies. In addition, advice from the women to newly injured and rehabilitation staff/counselors was requested. Results suggest a strong influence of pre-injury sexual behaviour on post-injury sexual adaptation. A positive attitude towards sexuality and good communicative skills seem to be of particular importance for a favourable outcome of sexual rehabilitation. Even under such circumstances, however, SCI as a rule leads to significant loss of sexual ability. A realistic approach is therefore recommended in counseling, taking the mourning of loss of function into consideration, and allowing the patients to express their grief. Thus, sexual rehabilitation programs need to address a dynamic process of mourning and coping, rather than merely teaching skills for having sexual intercourse after SCI.

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