Sexual Difficulties – Sex with Disabilities

There are many factors that contribute to sexual difficulties and these include illnesses, medication, surgeries, and disabilities. Some of the illnesses that contribute to this factor include arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cerebrovascular accidents, spinal-cord injury, cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness.

Arthritis is a disease that causes destruction to the joint as well as the nerves and muscle tissues surrounding the joints. The disease caused pain and deformities making it difficult for individual to assume certain positions during sexual intercourse. The use of medication prescribed for arthritis may also diminish a person sexual interest.

Diabetes is a disease caused by the failure of the pancreas to secrete sufficient amounts of insulin. Diabetes cause erectile problems in men due to nerve damage or circulatory problems and some men may also experience retrograde ejaculation. Women with diabetes experience sexual difficulties that include lack of sexual desire, lubrication, and orgasm.

Multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease that affect the brain and spinal cord which causes damage to the myelin sheath that affect a person’s vision, sensation, and voluntary movement. People suffering from multiple sclerosis experience problem with their sexual functioning that include lack of sexual interest, arousal, genital sensation, and orgasm. Some women may also experience vaginal dryness and these symptoms may vary among individuals.

Cancer patient going through chemotherapy and radiation therapy experienced side effects that include hair loss, nausea, skin changes, and fatigue, all of which have negative impact on sexual feelings. Pain associated with cancer also interferes with normal sexual desire and arousal as well as the nerve system requires for having normal sexual interest and response.

Cerebrovascular accidents also refer to as strokes causes damage to brain tissue due to blockage of blood supply to the brain or breakage of a vessel which cause internal bleeding also known as hemorrhage. People who suffered from strokes experienced sexual difficulties including lack of interest in sexual activity and arousal and many suffered from limited mobility and depression.

People who suffered from spinal-cord injury (SCI) experienced limited control and sensation depending on the parts of the body that are paralyzed. Most of the time individual with this injury suffered from limited ability for arousal and orgasm but it does not affect an individual’s sexual desire and psychological arousal. Some people with SCI are capable of achieving sexual arousal and orgasms from psychological or physical stimulation and others are not.

Research indicates that some men with SCI are capable of experiencing erections but many are not capable of ejaculating or experience orgasm. Research also indicates that SCI women who experience orgasm before the injury were also able to experience orgasm after the injury. Even though many SCI individual suffered from very limited genital sensations, sensation from other part of the body such as inner arm, neck, the breast or other part of the body that have not suffered from sensory loss may also produced heightened sexual responsiveness by using a technique known as sensory amplification in which an individual focus on a physical stimulus in order to amplify its sensation to the point of mental orgasm.

Cerebral palsy (CP) causes brain damage that may occur before or during child birth. People with cerebral palsy suffered from lack of muscular control that may affect the speech, facial expression, balance, and body movement. CP does not affect genital sensation but it can cause deformity of arms and hands making it difficult for individual to masturbate. CP also affects the hips and knees making it difficult for individual to assume certain position during sexual intercourse.

Blindness and deafness do not have physical affect on the sexual interest or response of an individual. It does however take away the capability of an individual to effectively communicate with a sexual partner during intimacy and it also affects the individual’s ability to interact with others during social interaction.

The best way for individual to cope with their sexual difficulties due to illness or disability is through good communication within relationships. Experimenting with sexuality such as focusing on erotic thoughts and sensual touching are ways in which couples can learn and relate with each other to increase pleasure and intimacy in a relationship.

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