MFS Fertility Blog

How Does a Spinal Injury Affect Sexual Performance?

A spinal cord injury has the potential to adversely affect a man's fertility in two ways: psychologically and physically.

For a recent injury, the fear of discomfort or pain during the act of sex may be enough to make someone shy away from it. This can continue for a substantial amount of time, even up to and beyond the point when pain has completely subsided. The continued refusal of sex can 1) cause the injured to create a negative association with sex as painful and thus should be avoided at all costs and 2) can cause a partner to feel rejected, thereby creating tension and increasing the strains of a relationship further. Emotional changes caused by the injury itself can impact sexual performance and desire.

A spinal cord injury does not lend itself to the physical strains sex places on the human body. But besides the potential pain sex can cause on man who has been injured, a common side effect that occurs is he may have difficulty having and/or maintaining an erection. On top of this, he may be unable to ejaculate. The physical sensation of arousal may not be as strong as the time before the injury was sustained. The reason for this is the spinal cord's role as the connection between the brain and the body; a weakened sensory perception means a severely weakened state of arousal.

When trying to build a family, being able to create sperm is essential. As a result, options like rectal probe electroejaculation can help to retrieve sperm for use in subsequent assisted reproductive techniques, e.g., artificial insemination.

For more information on male infertility caused by a spinal cord injury, contact Male Fertility & Sexual Medicine Specialists.

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