Spinal Cord Injury: Talking With Your Partner About Sex


Talking with your partner may help your sexual function. Couples often wrongly assume that they each know what the other person likes when it comes to sex. But likes and dislikes may change after a spinal cord injury.

Be honest about how the SCI has affected your sexual function and how you feel about it. Here are some tips for good communication.

  • Talk openly.

    Talk about how the SCI has affected your sexual function and sex life. And talk about how you feel about it. Be open, honest, and respectful.

  • Don't assume.

    Tell your partner what you do and don't find pleasurable.

  • Make time outside of the bedroom to talk about your sex life together.

    If you withdraw sexually because of body image, fear of erection problems, or fear of not satisfying your partner, your partner may worry that you are no longer interested. In some cases, you may find that your partner is less concerned about intercourse and is more concerned about and interested in foreplay and other forms of sexual satisfaction. Discuss the strong and weak points of the whole relationship, not just the sexual relationship.

  • Make changes, if needed.

    Identify positive areas, areas of conflict, and areas that need improvement. Agree on how or if you will both make changes.

  • Get counseling, if needed.

    If you have trouble discussing sex with your partner, see a person who can help guide the communication, such as a certified therapist.

  • Read books with your partner on sexual health in people with SCIs.

Related Information


    Current as of: December 13, 2021

    Author: Healthwise Staff
    Medical Review:
    Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
    Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
    Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
    Nancy Greenwald MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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