Research Article  |   February 2015
“Don’t Think Paralysis Takes Away Your Womanhood”: Sexual Intimacy After Spinal Cord Injury
Author Affiliations
  • Heather A. Fritz, PhD, OTR/L, is Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI; Heather.fritz@wayne.edu
  • Heather Dillaway, PhD, is Associate Dean of Master's Programs, The Graduate School, and Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
  • Cathy L. Lysack, PhD, OT(C), is Acting Dean, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; Professor, Occupational Therapy Program, Department of Health Care Sciences; and Professor and Deputy Director, Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Article Information
Neurologic Conditions / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Spinal Cord Injury / Occupation, Participation, and Health
Research Article   |   February 2015
“Don’t Think Paralysis Takes Away Your Womanhood”: Sexual Intimacy After Spinal Cord Injury
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 2015, Vol. 69, 6902260030p1-6902260030p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.015040
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 2015, Vol. 69, 6902260030p1-6902260030p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.015040
Abstract

Sexuality and intimacy are important components of health and well-being. Issues surrounding sexuality and intimacy are equally important for men and women living with physical disabilities, including spinal cord injury (SCI). Yet, women’s sexuality after SCI remains largely unexamined. This article presents the findings from an in-depth qualitative investigation of the sexual and reproductive health experiences of 20 women with SCI in or around Detroit, MI. Findings echo existing literature documenting the sexual consequences of life after SCI and suggest new areas of inquiry important for better addressing sexual concerns across the lifespan. Specifically, findings suggest a need to consider the variable effects of SCI on sexual intimacy in relation to a person’s developmental trajectory, the appropriate timing of sexual education, the need to expand conceptualizations of sexual intimacy, and the ways SCI may affect sexuality in later life.