Sensual exercises may help you enjoy sexual intimacy and find
satisfaction after a spinal cord injury (SCI). You may find that your old
methods of finding satisfaction still work or that they no longer do. Doing
sensual exercises with your partner may help you relax and focus more on the
pleasurable touching of lovemaking than on sexual intercourse or orgasm.
Because of the lack of movement and feeling you may have, finding and
getting into comfortable positions can be difficult. It is important to
experiment with this. Bulletin boards on many SCI Web sites provide a forum
where people with SCIs and their partners post information about their level of
injury and what works for them. See the Other Places to Get Help section of the
topic Living With a Spinal Cord Injury.
Sensual exercises may be most helpful if done in a soothing,
relaxing, and playful atmosphere. First, do your bowel and bladder program to
avoid any accidents, and then put on some pleasant music, turn off the phone,
and concentrate on your partner. The goal is to find sexual activity that is
interesting, enjoyable, and mutually pleasurable. Your level of injury will
probably affect what you can do in the following suggestions.
Nongenital pleasuring. Remove your clothes. Have
your partner lie facedown. Beginning at your partner’s neck, slowly caress
and/or kiss from head to toe. Then, have your partner turn over. Repeat the
caressing and kissing. Avoid touching the nipples or any part of the genitals.
Concentrate on how good touching your partner feels. Then, trade places. Lie on
your stomach while your partner caresses you. Do not have intercourse the first
day. Enjoy holding, relaxing, and laughing.
After you and your partner are comfortable with nongenital pleasuring, include
genital touching as part of the exercise. Again, do not have intercourse. If
sexual tension from any erection that occurs is too much to stand, masturbate
to relieve the tension.
Nondemanding intercourse. When both
partners are ready, continue a session of genital pleasuring by having
intercourse. Do not force intercourse too soon. Rather, fully enjoy the genital
pleasure leading up to it.
You may find that you need to try a
number of sexual positions to find comfort during sexual intercourse,
especially if pain or spasms occur during intercourse. If this does occur, talk
to your doctor.