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How is Sexuality Affected by Spinal Cord Injury - Disability Sexuality

  • Published: 2010-06-17 : Disabled World.
  • Synopsis: Sexual function is controlled by the central nervous system so injury to the central nervous system will affect sexual function.

Main Document

Sexual function, as in all other human bodily systems, is controlled by the central nervous system. Thus, any injury to the central nervous system will affect sexual function.

The question is to what extent function and sensation will be affected with injuries at various levels and degrees of severity. Also, in what ways do the symptoms manifest themselves in males v. females.

As one can imagine, this is a vast and complex subject that cannot be adequately treated in just a few paragraphs. You may want to read Sam Maddox's book Spinal Network where he treats this subject among many others, quite adequately.

In general, the best way to determine your own level of function is to learn how your body and mind react in certain situations. Complete and open communication and exploration between partners is recommended.

In addition, a current project being conducted by Dr. Todd Linsenmeyer is attempting to find ways to enhance the fertility of SCI males. He explains that there are two causes of this infertility - poor semen quality and ejaculatory dysfunction. The problem with ejaculatory dysfunction has largely been solved with use of electro-ejaculation. However, poor semen quality, particularly sperm motility, continues as an unresolved problem. It is generally accepted that a significant number of SCI men have abnormalities of spermatogenesis as well.

There have been no prospective clinical studies of spermatogenesis, sperm motility, or sperm function following SCI.

Our preliminary data have shown that spermatogenesis may begin shortly after SCI in rats. Poor semen quality has also been noted 2-4 weeks after SCI in men.

Neither clinical nor animal studies have identified mechanisms responsible for these impairments, but his study is not yet completed.

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