Thanks to depictions of quadriplegic and paraplegic sex lives on scripted shows such as Friday Night Lights and reality series Push Girls, the general public is more educated than ever before about the effect spinal cord injuries (SCI) have on intimate relations. But there are still popular misconceptions and myths in need of a good debunking, hence this list of paraplegic and quadriplegic sex facts.
There are facts about the bedroom lives of paraplegics and quadriplegics a lot of people just never think about. Dealing with incontinence and catheters in the bedroom, for example, is not something you see in popular depictions of life with SCI. The intimate mechanics of paraplegic and quadriplegic intercourse aren't well-known, either. Read on for 10 facts about SCI intercourse that Hollywood, and pop culture in general, rarely - if ever - mentions.
Yes, Orgasms Are Still Possible
Experiences vary greatly depending on the condition level, but both men and women with SCI experience climax. For men, the sensation has been described in many ways: a "primarily emotional event," a general relaxation of the muscles, or a "pleasant" sensation in the pelvis. The majority of women with SCI report they still experience climax, and the sensation is similar to how it was prior to injury. It may, however, take longer than it did before, require more stimulation than before. Oh darn.
The "Stuffing" Technique, Just What It Sounds Like
According to experts at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, paraplegic males, with practice, can have intercourse with women using the so-called "stuffing" technique, which is exactly like it sounds: using his fingers, the man tucks his flaccid member inside his partner. When she thrusts her hips, the muscles of her vagina "suck" it inside her, providing a pleasant sensation akin to penetration. This can cause a reflex erection - erections achieved through stimulation - leading to a more traditional experience.
Sensitivity in Less Traditional Erogenous Zones Can Be Heightened
Both men and women with SCI report that less "traditional" sensitive zones provide arousal. Heightened "tactile sexual response," for example, has been reported around the ears, eyelids, and neck.
Angela Rockwood, from the Sundance Channel documentary series Push Girls, confirms this: "You gotta think of sensation. For quadriplegics, the breast up is very heightened and sensitive, so I like a lot of kissing around the neck.”
Fellow Push Girl Auti Angel agrees: "It’s like when people become visually impaired and their smells and other senses become heightened. It’s like that with us - we just lost sensation in a different area."
Special Furniture Is Available
The IntimateRider is a special chair that reportedly "does the thrusting for you" if you're a man with an SCI. With a retail price of $365, the Intimate Rider isn't cheap, but it does promise to "unleash your intimacy in a way that was not possible before - the way you deserve!" Doesn't sound like something you can really put a price on.
The chair works by translating the movement of your upper torso into a swinging motion, sort of like a glider. As the video shows, you can also splurge for the IntimateRider Romance Set ($515), which comes with an IntimateRider-compatible cot called the RiderMate for your partner.