Clinical observations in vibratory stimulation of the penis of men with spinal cord injury

Arch Sex Behav. 1989 Dec;18(6):461-74. doi: 10.1007/BF01541673.


Less than 10% of men with complete spinal cord injury experience ejaculation in intercourse. Vibratory stimulation of the penis triggers a predictable series of body reactions in most men with lesions above the thoracic 11th spinal cord level. These reactions are very similar to the physical manifestations of the sexual response in men with intact nervous systems. Between half and three quarters of men with lesions above the thoracic 11th spinal cord level ejaculate. The spermatozoa count is within the normal range, but the percentage of motile spermatozoa is low. The reactions leading to ejaculation take between 30 sec and 3 min and are characterized by rhythmic abdominal and leg spasms, lowered, then elevated pulse rates, elevation of blood pressure, and after the culmination of these experiences, relaxation, tiredness, and a general feeling of well-being. Autonomic dysreflexia (elevation of the blood pressure and severe headache) was avoided with preventive medication. The observations suggest that interrelated ejaculatory centers may be located in the thoracic 11th-and-below areas of the spinal cord. The vibratory stimulation technique has positive implications for both the reproductive and sexual needs of men with spinal cord injury and their partners.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ejaculation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Penis / physiopathology
  • Physical Stimulation*
  • Reproduction
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Vibration*