Content » Vol 46, Issue 9

Original report

Spina bifida and sexuality

Michael Ernst von Linstow, Ida Biering-Sørensen, Annette Liebach, Marianne Lind , Aase Seitzberg , Rikke Bølling Hansen , Fin Biering-Sørensen
Clinic for Spinal Cord Injuries, Glostrup University Hospital, Havnevej 25, 3100 Hornbaek, Denmark. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1863


Objective: To evaluate sexual function amongst adult individuals with spina bifida and to register their subjective satisfaction with their sexual life and relationships.
Setting: Department for Spinal Cord Injuries, East Denmark.
Study design and methods: Cohort study. Medical record information, neurological examination, personal interview, Functional Independence Measure (FIMTM), Medical Outcome Study Short Form 36 (SF-36) on quality of life, and questions on sexual function and related topics.
Study cohort: Fifty-three participants (27 women, 26 men) with spina bifida (mean age 27. 1, range 18–35) years. Response rate 74%.
Results: Fifty-one percent of subjects regarded their sexual life as a failure or dysfunctional. However, 45% reported being satisfied with their sexual life. Participants with partners were more satisfied with their sexual life than those without partners. Faecal, but not urinary, incontinence was associated with poorer sexual function and less satisfaction. Forty-nine percent of subjects indicated that the sexual education they received at puberty was useful; however, 32% lacked knowledge about their sexual functioning with regard to their disability.
Conclusion: There is a need for further sexual education and counselling for adults with spina bifida in order to improve their sexuality and quality of life.

Lay Abstract


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