“I am 32 years old and have been a T10 complete paraplegic for 6 years. I have recently met the man of my dreams and he is comfortable with my disability. He has proposed to me and wants to be intimate with me after we get married.
The problem is that since my accident I have no feeling on my genitals. Does this mean that I will not get an orgasm? I want him to be happy but won’t he be disappointed if I don’t orgasm?”
It is important to understand your sexuality as a person with a disability, and to remember that there is a whole lot more to you as a person than just your ability to have intercourse. Your personality, mutual trust and respect, your loving nature expressed by reciprocal touch, caress and massage – are as important.
Your disability does however present you with challenges when it comes to physical expression of your sexuality.
Restricted mobility and loss of sensation in erogenous zones are but a few of the hurdles you need to overcome.
Perhaps we need to look at some of the terminologies that describe sexuality and then explore new, different and exciting ways to create a fulfilling love life for you and your
An orgasm, from the Greek orgasmos (swelling organ) is the peak of the plateau phase of the sexual response cycle, characterized by an intense sensation of pleasure.
Experienced by both males and females, orgasm is controlled by the involuntary, or autonomic, limbic system, and is accompanied by quick cycles of muscle contraction in the lower pelvic muscles, which surround the primary sexual organs and the anus. Orgasms are often associated with other involuntary actions, including muscular spasms in multiple areas of the body, a general euphoric sensation and, quite often, body movements and vocalizations are expressed.
An orgasm is achieved by stimulation of erogenous zones using fingers, the penis, mouth or tongue and by the use of sensual vibrators or erotic electro stimulation. The arousal process can be aided by using as many of the senses as possible (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) and enhanced by psychogenic erotic messaging of
fantasy and role playing.
Erogenous zones are areas of the human body that have heightened sensitivity and when they are stimulated produce erotic sensation or sexual excitement. These zones rank differently in importance from person to person and the most popular ones,
apart from the genitals themselves, are: ears and earlobes, the mouth, the neck,
breasts and nipples, navel, buttocks, inner thighs and loins, feet and toes.
You mention that you have no sensation in your pubic area and this would then exclude most of the erogenous zones from your navel to your toes. This also includes the clitoris and the U-spot (a small patch of sensitive erectile tissue above and either side of the urethral opening).
However there is some good news!
Recently published research by Barry R. Komisaruk & Beverley Whipple has shown that women with spinal cord injury, even when they cannot feel the stimulus in their genitals, can have orgasmic response in the brain in the same area as women without spinal cord injury. The reason for this is that the vagus nerve provides a genital (vaginal-cervical) sensory pathway that bypasses the spinal cord, projecting directly to the brain, and thus provides genital sensation despite interruption of the spinal cord at any level.
There are also several reports from women who have no feeling on the external area of their genitals who experience intact and satisfactory stimulation from the G-spot
(Grafenberg Spot – a small, highly sensitive, area located 5-8cm inside the vagina, on the front or upper wall.)
Another area that has recently been identified is the A-spot (Anterior Fornix Erogenous zone) located just above the cervix at the innermost point of the vagina. This is a patch of sensitive tissue described as the ‘female degenerated prostate’. (In other words, it is the female equivalent of the male prostate, just as the clitoris is the female equivalent of the male penis). Direct stimulation of this spot can produce
powerful orgasmic contractions.
The cervix, situated at the back of the vaginal passage has been reported to become more sensitive to stimulation in females with spinal cord injury. The cervix and its connection to the brain via the vagus nerve, can then – by implication – become the ‘orgasmic epicentre’, despite the fact that there is no sensation on the external genitalia.
The reason for all this information is to disclose a whole new world of knowledge and experience to you and your future partner. Instead of the dread of disappointment you can now set forth on an exciting journey of discovery as you explore new areas of
sensation in your own body to pleasure you both.
I often find able bodied couples in consultation complaining of their sex life being boring and lacklustre. On investigation it is then discovered that they do not know where and how their own erogenous zones work nor those of their partner! Very often it is not necessary to broaden your sex life by risky sexual behaviour and downright
dangerous sex toys. Instead, just learn how your own and your partner’s bodies work, naturally.
The best way to find out what works for you, once you are ready to start this exciting journey, is to make time and place available to you and your partner. Create a relaxing atmosphere. Attend in the moment and start your journey using the information you now have to discover that special place (or places!) that turn you and your partner on.