Sexual ability, activity, attitudes and satisfaction as part of adjustment in spinal cord-injured subjects

Paraplegia. 1990 Jun;28(5):285-95. doi: 10.1038/sc.1990.38.


Changes in different aspects of sexuality were investigated and related to overall quality of life and physical, psychological and social adjustment in 73 SCI subjects, who were sexually active both before and after injury. Items on sexual interest and satisfaction were treated as one composite variable, the SIS scale, measuring sexual adjustment after injury. Despite severe genital dysfunction, more than half of the subjects (57%) rated their sexual relations after injury as satisfying or at least rather satisfying. The majority continued having intercourse, although many of them more seldom than before, and about half experienced orgasm. Sexual adjustment after injury was closely and positively correlated to frequency of intercourse, willingness to experiment with alternative sexual expressions and young age at injury. Physical and social independence and a high mood level were further positive determinants of sexual adaptation after injury, whereas the neurological level and completeness of injury showed no significant correlation with sexuality. It is suggested that sexual information and counselling should be integrated in the total care of the SCI patient to reduce the negative effects on sexuality, caused by the injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / psychology