N. Sex

My advice

You need to realize ejaculation and orgasm are not the same thing. That means not being able to ejaculate does not stop you from reaching orgasm. You also need to know most women mainly orgasm on the basis of clitoral stimulation not vaginal. This means you can be a great lover using your tongue, fingers and thumbs. Talk to them, touch them, kiss them and check if they are getting wet. When you feel them getting wet, gently focus on the clitoris

Also many women are as interested in men that pay attention, listen, and can communicate about their lives, as they are in muscle-bound spunks. So talk to their eyes and look at their eyes when you are listening. There are also women that are not that interested in appearance, and there are many women that are turned on when they see clear evidence of enthusiasm, passion, confidence, responsibility.

This is not true of all women. Some women want the cliché muscular-mucho guys, just like some men want Barbie. Don’t be disappointed just move on.

My experience

In the first few weeks and months post injury my sexual future was a major concern for me. My understanding is that pretty much all men (and presumably women though I don’t know) have this same concern. The bad news is this concern has more or less stayed with me ever since. The good news is that I think pretty much every person whether disabled, able-bodied, single or in a relationship have this anxiety about their sexual performance, their access to sex, and their future sex life.

To deal with the impact of quadriplegia on my sex life I have mostly relied on tongue and fingers. For most of my life I did not go in for Viagra, penile injections or toys etc. To some extent my choice was driven by the way i managed my bladder, as I used sheaths (uridomes) other sex wasn’t practical, but mainly it was my choice . Not being able to feel or get normal erections made me think any other type of sex was unlikely to be successful, or enjoyable, and a kind of denial of the fact of my quadriplegia. But it’s just what I did it’s not necessarily right or wrong.

With that approach I had one long term relationship where the woman was not satisfied with the sex after a few years. As a result the relationship broke up some years after that. However, I have also had several long term relationships where the women were very happy with the sex. In addition, I have had several short and longer term relationships where the women talk at some length about the orgasm they managed with me that they didn’t with other guys.

In summary, I feel that with that approach sexual performance was sometimes a problem for me, and sometimes not.

Although what i’ve said above is true of many women there are also some women that seem to sometimes, or often, need penetration in addition to, or instead of, clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm.  For some of these women an erect penis is a a really important thing in sex. If your partner is in this category the viagra related drugs may suit you. there is good information out there about these drugs, and you should look for it.

After i had to change my bladder management approach to a supra-pubic catheter (SPC) i then happened to get such a partner. After I realised her preferences I realised that as i was now using an SPC i had more options for sex. In particular the viagra type drugs were now a possibility.

So i called my local spinal unit as they had a specialist sexual health nurse i could call. she recommended a drug known as Cialis on the basis of a recent randomised controlled trial with quads. after some experimentation to get the dose right we had what was a really great experience for her and a transformative one for me. It changed my idea of myself and my body and what it can do.

In my experience these drugs can be a great complement to the other techniques i described above, however: you do need some advice, to figure out which drug will suit you best; to experiment with the dose, to find the amount you need to get a reliable result with manageable side effects; and to consider the cost, as they can be expensive.

so the best sexual techniques for you are likely to depend on the preferences of you and your partner, and be influenced by your bladder management technique. you need to sensitive to what it is they seem to be enjoying most and also ask them what they like best.

In terms of my experience of sex I feel I now experience it a little more in the way some women do. Some women sometimes talk about orgasm as being hard to reach but when it comes its a whole of body experience. My experience is now a little in that direction.

My reaction to this experience has changed over time.

For many years I felt that it was so complicated that l couldn’t be bothered. So I often didn’t follow-up when I did meet someone that seemed interested. That is probably still true. I  tend to only follow up when I feel there is a really strong physical connection, chemistry or sexual tension – call it what you like. In those cases I feel that its probably going to be so good that its hard not to follow up. However, I don’t feel that way about lots of people so this limits the field of potential partners a lot.

I did not feel like this when I was younger. It is not necessary. I would suggest younger quads avoid feeling this way, and if you do feel that way then don’t act on it. I didn’t limit myself to the same extent as a younger person. I’d  suggest it is better to go out and collect experiences of all kinds if you can. You can go back in to your shell a bit later in life if you feel like it.

The final issue for me is not so much a reaction to my sexual experience or performance, but just to the fact of being a quad. I often feel either unattractive or embarrassed at the idea of propositioning someone, even when I am fairly confident that it would be expected and welcome. I tend to hold back because it might mean getting naked, explaining all the physical implications of being a quad, and who knows what emotional complications.

However, I get the feeling that many able-bodied men have this same lack of courage, due to their own feelings of unattractiveness or inadequacy. So maybe this aspect of the quad experience is not that different from that of other men. Similarly, like other men, when I have had the courage to ask someone it has often gone well, and my quadriplegia has not been a big issue.

There is one additional thing that is different for young male quads compared with their able-bodied peers, which is connected to the subject of this site – independence. Being a quad, and all its associated access issues, means the venues available for sexual experiences are much more limited. For example there is is often less opportunity to ‘go to her place’ or any other place for that matter. It means ‘your place’ may be the best or only venue in most cases.

This is another very good reason for becoming sufficiently independent that you have your own living space, can come and go as you please, and bring home whomever you please, above and beyond all the other advantages of independence espoused by this website.


For pix relating to quads and sex try these links from the streetsie site

access sex

intimate encounters

perfect imperfect

Here’s what the experts say

CLICK HERE for a really good set of short videos and talks from SCI-U including a quad talking about erections

CLICK HERE for the streetsie website. It has lots of articles from people in chairs and their lovers about sex and even more comments from real people with real experience

SCI network

rehab team

Rule number 14 – Focus on her eyes and clitoris


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