One of the biggest questions people ask about life with a spinal cord injury is: what is sex like? Can you have sex? Can you still feel it? Does it feel good? People want to know it all. The answers to these questions in all reality vary for each person. If you have a spinal cord injury, you can attest to this personally.
How incomplete or complete your injury is, for example, can have a huge effect on your sex life. People, however, are not stopping having sex after an SCI. Instead, they’re learning how to embrace their new bodies with success. There is a lot of sex information out there on life with an SCI. Some rarer tips are not trickling down the way they should. See these tips and more below!
Visit a Pelvic Floor Therapist
After a spinal cord injury, you heard about seeing both an occupational and a physical therapist, but rarely do you hear about someone seeing a pelvic floor therapist. These therapists specialize in the muscles in the pelvic area, including muscles related to bladder and bowel functions, as well as sexual functions. If you have a low injury or incomplete injury and can move any of these muscles, a pelvic floor therapist will work with you to strengthen these muscles. They can also help you figure out the right medication to use if you are a man and want to overcome any erection issues.
Intimate Rider for Men & Women
Originally created for men with paraplegia, the Intimate Rider is a well-known device in the SCI community that helps men with spinal cord injuries have sex. It can open up new positions thanks to its portable table on a base. As a man with a spinal cord injury, you have your partner lay on the table, and you then you sit in the chair that allows you to be in a more active position.
What many people don't know is that the Intimate Rider can also be used for a woman who wants to be more in control but usually can’t because of paralyzed hip muscles. The transfer can be tricky, however. With the right position, a woman with paralysis can move her body in a more independent way during sex with this.
Women: Jack Rabbit Vibrator
There haven't been many studies on how women with spinal cord injuries can orgasm, but in the 1990s there was a study that discovered that women with SCI are more apt to orgasm from their G-spot vs. their clitoris. Because of this, it is recommended that women with spinal cord injuries masturbate with a g-spot vibrator.
There are many vibrators that stimulate the G-spot, however one of the most popular among women with spinal cord injuries is the famous Jack Rabbit. It is available in many shops and costs around $40. It’s definitely worth trying if you haven't experienced an orgasm since your injury.
Men: Try a Wahl Massager Before the Ferticare
Many men struggle to have an orgasm as well after their spinal cord injury. They especially want to ejaculate. There is a product you can buy called the Ferticare Vibrator that can help men with paralysis ejaculate, but it costs $600. Before you try this, try buying a personal Wahl Massager. It is only $20 and available on Amazon. Many men have huge orgasms with this and are surprised by its results. When using, try stroking the underside of the penis with more focus towards the base of the head.
T.E.N.S. Units + Vaginal Inserts
TENS machines/units are popular with people with SCI to help keep their muscles activated and strong by using electrical currents. Some men use them to assist with erections as well, but women with spinal cord injuries can also buy vaginal inserts for a TENS unit to help stimulate the inside muscles of the vaginas. Some women report that it helps them feel more the more they use the machine.
Don't Be Afraid of Weird Erogenous Zones
You've heard about discovering new erogenous zones after a spinal cord injury, and many people tell you to try the neck or the ear area, but go even further than that. Try even weirder areas such as the trapezius area, the clavicles, or the spine. And experiment with temperatures as well. You never know what kind of sensations you'll still be able to feel that may shock you.
Use a Hoyer Lift for Positioning
And last but surely not least, the good ol’ Hoyer Lift. If you have one of these in your house and need one for transfers, look at it in a new light. Many people use theirs for sex positioning, especially for allowing the person with a disability to be on top. It allows for a lot more control if you do not have torso movement and is definitely something to experiment with if you have it in the home.
Be sure to check out our SCI Life Uncovered: Sex After SCI Podcast episode here, and to download the eBook about Bladder, Bowel, and Sexual Functions below.