Sexual activity and satisfaction in men with traumatic spinal cord lesion
Antti Dahlberg, Hannu Alaranta, Hannu Kautiainen and Mervi Kotila
Objective: To estimate sexual activity and sexual satisfaction in men with spinal cord lesion.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Subjects: All adult citizens in Helsinki with traumatic spinal cord lesion were identified. The final study group comprised 92 male subjects, corresponding to a participation rate of 79%.
Methods: A structured questionnaire was sent to all subjects and they were invited for a clinical visit. Clinical examination was based on the manual of the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA). Examinations were performed on all subjects by the same experienced physician and physiotherapist.
Results: In total, 86% of the subjects experienced sexual desire and 68% had been sexually active during the last 12 months. A total of 65% of subjects reported experiencing orgasm since the injury, but most subjects rated it as weaker than before the injury. There were no statistically significant differences between the ASIA Impairment Scale groups. Men with paraplegia reported a more satisfactory sex life (p = 0.05) than those with tetraplegia.
Conclusion: This study confirms the earlier findings that the ability to reach orgasm is deficient in men with spinal cord lesion. The completeness of the lesion had no effect. The more severe locomotory disability might adversely affect the sex life of persons with tetraplegia compared with those with paraplegia.
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