Saturday, August 7, 2010

What about Sex!

Well, It has been quite some time since I posted on my blog.  Life got in the way!!  Yesterday I found myself thinking bout the various questions I've been asked about my stroke and subsequent disabilities.  I am quite open to answering these questions and welcome them. However, I have been presented with a question for which I was not prepared! When I visited my school and  students 3 months after my stroke, a teacher with whom I am collegially familiar but not, shall I say, "close"to  came bounding up to me and in a hushed tone inquired, "How do you have sex?"  Being taken aback, and unsure of  what to say, I said, frankly, "The same way most people do".   To this day I am not really sure what it was she was looking for.  Knowing that the left side of my body was left paralyzed and my sensation of touch was also severely compromised by the stroke,  did she want to know about sexual positions, libido, sexual response, whether mechanical aides are necessary/beneficial? .....I can only wonder.  

 I have pondered this question over the ensuing months/years .  Any reading material I stumbled into that addressed sex  said basically the same thing without exception including:
  * Make sure you  (stroke survivor) maintain good personal hygiene.  This can be a challenge for anyone with disabilites.
  *Intimacy can  be attained without climax.
  * Do only what you're comfortable doing.

While these are important "tips" for anyone engaged in a sexual relationship, I felt all of these articles fell short in addressing  the issues that come up in  a sexual relationship for people with physical disabilities.

If my colleague were to ask me this question today, I would address these points:

If the pre-stroke preferred positions for sex are no longer possible or safe work together to discover new ones.

If the sensory perception is so compromised  a mechanical aide might be helpful in achieving satisfaction.  Try one or two or three, you never know which one will be best. 

I was told by my acupuncturist that the libido meridian is located in the foot. She explained that lightly trailing a soft feather over the feet and the rest of the body during foreplay stimulates the libido.  That worked for me!

When stroke strikes the survivor  and their partner begin a marathon journey of problem solving.  Very little of daily life is conducted the same way.  Partners have to figure out how to do things differently.  The same goes for sex.  Since there are 2 people involved in a sexual relationship, open, honest, kind and patient communication is critical for mutual satisfaction and intimacy to occur.  If the partners had these qualities  of communication in their relationship before the stroke and sex was mutually fulfilling, then mutually satisfying and intimate sexual encounters can continue after the stroke. Both partners simply have to approach sex differently!

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