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.
Genital pleasuring. 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.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerNancy E. Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation