Neurological disabilities caused by spinal cord injury or acquired brain damage can have a direct effect on sexual response, depending on the type, degree and location of the injury. Although these disturbances are essentially physical, they can also have significant emotional repercussions on a person’s life.
Uncertainty, acceptance of one’s own body or loss of self-esteem can affect sexual interest or desire during this acute or subacute phase. But as the person moves forward in their process of adaptation, they regain emotional stability and feel more confident about life, gradually feeling more motivated to restart their sex life.
In addition, we now know more about the neurophysiological mechanisms that regulate sexual response, and new drugs, electronic devices and microsurgical techniques are available, as well as studies on cognitive and emotional factors. All of these offer promising solutions for many of the problems that affect people with a neurological disability.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) sexuality is “a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. It is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships”.