Posts Tagged sex

[WEB SITE] Disability and sex: let’s be frank about sex toys

Disability and sex: let’s be frank about sex toys

Disabled people use sex toys for the same reasons as anyone else: for pleasure, variety, sexual experimentation, kinky sex… the list goes on. But some disabled people also use them to assist with sexual difficulties or physical, mental or sensory impairments.

Sex isn’t always straight forward for anyone, and it certainly isn’t like in the movies. But sex can be just as mind blowing with the right assistance. I’m talking sex toys – dildos, vibrators, butt plugs, love eggs, strap ons… I could go on.

Disabled people often use equipment to help with everyday things, like a grip to hold a cup or hoist to lift them from a chair to bed, and the idea of useful aids carries on into the bedroom. Just because you can’t do certain things, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy sex. For example…

Men who cannot achieve an erection may use a strap-on dildo in its place, or strap it to their thigh, so that their partner can sit on it and play with their penis at the same time.

Men who can’t orgasm from penile stimulation, maybe because they have spina bifida can use a prostate stimulator to orgasm.

Women who cannot reach down between their legs to masturbate may use a Magic Wand, which has a long handle, to stimulate the clitoris.

Women with spinal injuries and others with neurological impairments may not lubricate naturally, so need lubricants in an accessible container.

Blind and visually impaired people may use audio erotica to excite them.

People who cannot move and want to pleasure their partners may be able to hold toys on them – vibrators or electrostim gadgets, to provide stimulation. People with arthritis or that have difficulty getting into the right positions for sexual interactions, might use sex swings or supports to make it easier for them.

People with spinal injury use strong vibrators such as Ferticare to have orgasms.

Some people with learning difficulties need toys to assist their stimulation to make it easier.

Masturbation to reach the big O

But the most pressing reason of all why some disabled people need sex toys is that they are unable to masturbate to orgasm, maybe because they have short arms, their hands get tired and weak, or they cannot move their arms.

Women are lucky that no-hands toys like the butterfly and vibrating panties can get them off. Some may have partners who will toss them off or go down on them. Some single people have the knack of persuading people they know, or meet, to lend them a hand, and this skill comes from building up enough confidence to be brave enough to ask in a relaxed, good humoured way.

Others have PAs or care staff willing to put a vibrator on their clitoris or masturbator on their penis, secure it in place, maybe even turn it on, and leave the room, coming back later to clear up and put the toy away.

All this shows that there are many ways to still enjoy sex and orgasms, even if you have a disability. But there are issues with some sex toys.

Sex toys are usually secured by tucking them into tight pants — which is totally unsatisfactory. Not only are they sometimes just shy of the right spot, but there is a chance it will dislodge itself and fly across the room just before orgasm is reached. However, I have invented a solution – Happy Harnesses.

Happy harnesses are bespoke harnesses that will fit to the wearer and hold the required sex toy, meaning the sex toy is not only in the right place, but it will also stay firmly in place.

Unfortunately, it’s currently only in the design stage as I haven’t been able to find anyone to actually create such harnesses — they cannot just be manufactured as they need to be made to measure to accommodate the required toy. Plus, as it’s such an intimate necessity, it would be nice if it were customised.

But think of this: a guy living in a residential home, with a night-time raging hard on, or a woman who wakes with a sudden horniness — they cannot just ring a bell in the middle of the night and expect immediate assistance. They just have to lie there and think of England, letting the desire subside. If this goes on every night and often in the daytime too, it’s extremely bad for their mental health. I want to change this so that everyone can experience sex toys at their desire.

Sex toys have come a long way

A few decades ago, when I attended the first ever sex toy fair in Frankfurt, all the people in the trade were gangsters. A manufacturer said to me: “Tuppy, I want you to see my new life-like toy. Poke your finger to the end and you will feel the clitoris”. I sighed and muttered; “that’s where the cervix is, the clitoris is not inside the vagina, but in front of it.” The sex trade was dire: sex toys were shabby, ugly, split and smelt of rotting cabbage.

My boyfriend said of Jacqueline Gold, owner of Ann Summers; “even their condoms are tight­” – they were made in the East where cocks tend to be smaller, but condoms cheap to buy.

Slowly, the gangsters moved out of the trade and the business men took over. I’m not sure who was worse. At the last sex toy fair I went to in Berlin, on a research trip for Spokz several years ago, my friend, Shiri Zinn, spent most of her time covering up her beautiful porcelain and exquisite fluffy toys on her stand to prevent people from taking photos.

It’s only in the last couple of years that designers and people with any sense of morality, intelligence or pride have entered the business.

And a couple of months ago, quite amazingly, I made a breakthrough. I was quoted in the sex toy trade journal, Erotic Trade Only, as saying; “I think disabled people who cannot masturbate are better off having hand jobs because none of the sex toys are much good for them,” also mentioning my frustration with Happy Harnesses.

A week later a letter arrived in the post from a design company saying I had really got them thinking. I phoned them up and learnt that they too want to create a sex toy that disabled people can use independently, with no, or as little as possible, need for support from anyone else. They recognised the need for spontaneity and privacy, and had been thinking along the lines of how people with no arms or arm movement can paint beautifully artistic paintings using their mouth or feet. I was over the moon.

So, in our bid to work together on this project, I pledged to ask all the disabled people I know who are unable to masturbate to tell us exactly what they might be able to use to operate a sex toy. I’d be thrilled if as many people as possible could get in touch to let me know what they think – I want to make this the best possible sex toy to suit everyone’s needs. You can email me at Tuppy@Outsiders.org.uk, or call on 07770 884985.

Sex toys available now!

And in case you want some other recommendations, here are some of the toys currently out on the market which I have recommended in my book on sex and disability, to be published by Jessica Kingsley later this year:

The Humpus
The Fleshlight (one version with a suction pad)
Rends A10 Cyclone
Butterfly vibrators
Vibrating panties
Venus 2000
The Sybian
Hitachi Magic Wand — look online for European imitations.
Ferticare
Liberator — manufacturer of support equipment
Silver Sex — furniture for people with arthritis
Literotica — audio erotica

Spokz stock sex toys for disabled people in the UK

Kinsters Paradise will adapt and create accesible toys, gadgets and furniture

TLC — the website for disabled people to access responsible sex workers and strippers

The Hold It —  a great gadget for people unable to hold books and ipads to read or write. They don’t have a clamp for sex toys but such a clamp could be attached

And do come along to the 2014 Outsiders Jamboree on Monday 21st July, noon till 6pm. The venue is The Lighthouse, 111 Lancaster Road, London W11 1QT.

The event is free of charge and features Tableau Vivantes, performances by the incredible Mouse, Mat Fraser, David Young and Jamie Willmott, with discussions, loads of networking and fun.

I hope to see you there!

By Tuppy Owens

via Disability and sex: let’s be frank about sex toys

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[WEB SITE] 5 saucy products to make your Valentine’s Day memorable

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day isn’t far away. And everyone, no matter what their disability, has desires and the right to express them. So, here at Disability Horizons, we’re using February as ‘love month’ to break down taboos around sex and disability, and to help you to enjoy sex and your body.

To kick off, we’ve rounded up five products in our DHorizons Shop to make your Valentine’s Day and beyond pleasurable, whether you are in a relationship or single.

There’s no way around it, when we get down to the nitty-gritty, our disabilities can sometimes make things in the bedroom tricky… or kitchen or living room for that matter, depending on how adventurous your love life is! You may experience pain, have issues with stamina or find a range of positions impossible.

So, to enhance your sex live, or even open up your experiences in the bedroom, we’re showcasing five products to help you get more pleasure.

1. The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability book – £15

Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability

This book is packed full of resources for anyone who lives with disabilities, chronic pain or illness, whether you are single or coupled up. It’s written by Miriam Kaufmann MD – a paediatrician, adult health specialist and associate professor at the University of Toronto – and her cowriter Cory Silverberg M.Ed, a founding member of Come As You Are, an education-based accessible sex store.

It covers a wide range of topics, including desire, self-esteem, penetration, positions, yoga and Tantric sex. Each chapter also contains exercises at the end for you to try out. While the book is aimed at disabled people themselves, health professionals may find the information useful, too.

We feel that this is an extremely comprehensive resource, and that most people will find at least one thing in it to enhance their sexual pleasure.

Visit the DHorizons Shop to buy this book and all the other products in this article.

2. Multifunction Sex Position Enhancer chair – £43

Multifunction Sex Position Enhancer chair

If you are limited in the sexual positions you can achieve due to a lack of strength or poor range of mobility, then this simply-designed, high-strength chair could be the answer. It is flexible enough to allow you to enjoy a myriad of new, and possibly otherwise unattainable positions, and capable of bearing up to 300 lbs.

The manufacturers claim that because it takes some of the effort out of sexual positions, it can prolong the duration of sexual encounters, whilst at the same time improving the pleasure for both parties. It comes with quite a variety of suggested positions and even has some very tongue-in-cheek ideas for locations to try it out in.

The only criticisms we could find was that some users initially found it tricky to put together. But other than that, all its reviewers seemed to universally agree that once used, it enhanced their sex life.

3. Love and Vibes wireless wearable dilldo – £44

Love and Vibes wireless dildo

This discreet, wearable dilldo is a totally feminine sex toy. Once in place, the remote allows you to use a wide range of vibration modes. It’s also wireless, making it useful for people with a variety of conditions, such as muscle weakness or joint pain, that would usually inhibit their pleasure.

It is 3.25 inches long and 1.25 inches wide, and is ribbed and textured for added pleasure. The vibration function works both along the shaft of the dildo, and at the base, for greater pleasure and versatility. It is also fully rechargeable, so you don’t need to replace batteries.

4. Flashlight Turbo Thrust blowjob masturbator – £36

This discreet device is designed to look like any other torch. However, when the cap is unscrewed, it reveals a realistic feeling, easy-to-use simulator of oral sex for him.

It is made of durable, phthalate-free soft material, so should be hygienic, and has a comfortable insertion depth of 25cm. For those of you with progressive muscle weakness, joint pain or restricted limb movement, it’s a fantastic option for both tension relief and pleasure. So, whether you use this solo or as a couple, this toy will make achieving orgasm for him completely effortless.

5. We-Vibe Rave bluetooth smartphone-controlled G spot vibrator – £84

We-Vibe Rave bluetooth smartphone-controlled G spot vibrator

 

 

The best thing about this quiet and discreet G spot vibrator is that it can be control via an app on your smartphone, removing the need for arm strength or co-ordination. The app comes preloaded with 10 vibration modes, plus the ability to create your own to fit your personal preferences.

Whether you use the app yourself to help you achieve orgasm, or give control to your partner, this device could add some interesting options to your sex life.

Head over to the DHorizons Shop to buy any of these products. You can also see all the other assisted living items we sell to make your life easier.

Keep your eyes peeled for more advice, product picks and valuable tips from Disability Horizons this love month. 

More on Disability Horizions…

via 5 saucy products to make your Valentine’s Day memorable

 TagsDisability and Sex,disability sex,sex toys for disabled people

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[BLOG POST] “Can you have sex?” and other common disability and dating questions

We all know that there are a number of preconceptions about disability. One of the biggest is around dating – some people still don’t believe that disabled people date, have relationships and, yes, have sex! For a different perspective on the topic, we’re sharing a blog post from Becky, who isn’t disabled herself but is dating wheelchair-user Dan. Read on to find out how she deals with misconceptions about disability, and her answers to people’s common questions. 

Hi! I’m Becky. I’m a pretty average 23-year-old from the West Midlands. I’ve been a registered veterinary nurse for the last four years and have my own furry clan of horses, a dog and a cat. I’m happiest when I’m outdoors with my animals or exploring with Dan and my friends.

Dan (my better half, significant other, partner in crime….) is 28 and works as a data analyst. He’s a big music fan so loves going to gigs. Like me, he’s always busy and enjoys it being that way.

Dan has Friedreich’s Ataxia, which is a rare genetic, degenerative disease that causes coordination problems, a loss of sensation in the arms and legs, and impaired speech. As a result of this, Dan is a wheelchair user.

From the moment that Dan and I started dating, people have asked me what it’s like to date someone who has a disability. I use my blog, Head over Wheels, to answer their questions, and to share our reviews and stories about places we visit and their accessibility.

Here’s my post on some of the big questions people have…

“What’s it like dating someone in a wheelchair?”

This isn’t hugely different from asking: “What’s it like dating someone called Dan?” The obvious answer is, well, no two men called Dan are the same. Everyone is different.

Ok, so accessibility needs to be considered when dating any wheelchair user. But even that aspect differs from person to person. The rest is just like going out with someone who doesn’t have a disability; first date nerves, worries about awkward silences, excitement if you get on, the fluttery chest if you fancy them.

According to the charity Scope, two-thirds of Brits say they feel awkward around disability, and some people feel so awkward that they avoid disabled people altogether. That really needs to change!

When I was younger, my grandparents worked at a day centre for people with disabilities and learning difficulties. I occasionally spent time with them there and went to a few of their summer fetes and fundraising events.

I think that that helped to shape my attitude towards disability from a young age. I’m also used to working closely with people who have disabilities as I have treated several guide dogs and assistance dogs in my job as a registered veterinary nurse.

As I was getting ready for my first date with Dan, I’ll admit, I did start to feel anxious. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about his disability at all. I wasn’t sure whether to ask him more about his ataxia, or not to approach it at all. I didn’t want to unintentionally say or do the wrong thing.

But honestly, within the first 10 minutes of our date, all my worries had dissolved. I got completely wrapped up in the easy conversation and Dan’s charm – the wheelchair and his disability became insignificant.

Becky and Dan

“How much do you have to help him? Do you have to push his wheelchair?”

I didn’t have to help Dan at all on our first date. He suggested where we should meet, which meant that he knew what the access there was like. Dan put it bluntly on his dating profile bio: “I’m not looking for a carer, I have my independence.” He drives, has his own place, and works full time.

For our first date, we met at the café and bar at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham. When I arrived, Dan asked what I wanted to drink, then said he’d go in to get it for me. I sat at the table outside wondering how he was going to manage to carry it over. A few minutes later he came back out with a waitress who was carrying my drink.

Knowing that he couldn’t carry it back himself, he easily could’ve sent me to get my own drink, but he didn’t. It might seem like a trivial thing for me to mention, but I think it shows what sort of attitude Dan has.

There are some things that I have to help him with, but he also has to help me out too (like by reaching stuff from the top shelves in the kitchen cupboards! Yes, he can stand…!).

“Will you still be able to experience dating ‘normally’ and fully? Will you miss out or have to make any sacrifices if you’re dating someone with a disability?”

Our first date lasted four and a half hours! Considering that I’ve had more than one first date that didn’t even last an hour, I think that speaks volumes. I’d never clicked so well with someone the first time I’d met them.

After a drink at the café and having a looked around the Ikon Gallery, we went for a drink at a bar in Brindley Place. Even after that, we hadn’t had enough, so we went for dinner.

When I met Dan I was getting my life back after being in an abusive relationship. I was enjoying dating and meeting new people. For a few years, I’d missed out on a lot due to being in a toxic relationship and struggling with anxiety. People close to me just wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss out on anything else, hence this question.

A few months after the end of that relationship, I developed a new-found zest for life. I decided that whenever and wherever possible, I was only going to spend time with people whose company I genuinely enjoyed. I realised I had a lot of making up to do, places I wanted to visit and things I wanted to see.

Dan is honestly the funniest, most determined, and kindest person I’ve met. Within the first couple of months of dating, I’d been out-and-about and had more fun and laughter than I’d had in a really long time. It was quite the opposite of having to ‘make any sacrifices’. He’s brought so much to my life. Ew, gushy.

For just one example of what we’ve been up to so far, you can read my Zip World post.

Becky sitting on Dan's lap in his wheelchair in front of a fountain

“Can you have sex?”

I spent a long time pondering over whether or not to include this in my blog. Initially, I was uncomfortable with putting the blog online at all. So I’m sure you can imagine how I felt about answering this question!

But, the purpose of my blog is to be open and honest, and to address any stigmas. Plus, people really do seem intrigued. So much so that Dan felt the need to mention it in his dating profile – at the end of his bio, he simply put: “And it works…”

So… the answer is yes, we can. And we do.

Dan was the first one to broach the subject when we started dating. He anxiously told me his concerns, and I told him mine. Of course, it’s a bit of an awkward and embarrassing conversation to have when you’re in the early stages of dating. But we both had ‘baggage’ so it was important that we talked about it.

At the time, I was having treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was dubious about opening up to Dan. When you’ve been in an abusive relationship, or if you have a disability, sex can be a much bigger deal than it is for a lot of people.

However, there was no pressure from either side, and luckily we were both on the same page. We agreed that we just had to figure out what works for us both.  It wasn’t easy at the beginning, but sex wasn’t a deal breaker for us. Controversial? But maybe more common than you might think.

There’s a huge list of physical and psychological reasons why sex might be either a problem or just not be that important to someone. We’re all different, and having a disability definitely doesn’t automatically mean that someone doesn’t have a sex life (I can guarantee!). Likewise, being ‘able-bodied’ doesn’t mean your sex life should be amazing and massively active.

Dan and I have found our patience and honesty with each other to be totally worthwhile. So, to summarise, dating someone with a disability doesn’t mean that I’m missing out on anything at all. In Dan, I’ve gained my other half and my best friend.

Oh, also, his wheelchair and lap provide a pretty useful portable seat for when I’m waiting in queues. And I mustn’t forget the parking spaces.

In an attempt to help #EndTheAwkward, I’m happy to answer any other burning questions you might have! Just leave them in the comments section of this article.

By Becky – read more of Becky’s posts on her blog Head over Wheels.

via “Can you have sex?” and other common disability and dating questions

 

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[WEB SITE] Canadian documentary “Picture This” takes an honest look at sexuality and disability – Video

The sexuality of people with disabilities is something that is underrepresented—or not represented at all—which can lead to people with disabilities feeling either invisible or treated like an anomaly when it comes to their sexual lives.

However, a Toronto advocate has been raising awareness about sex and disabled people, and a Canadian film about him and his work is now available for online viewing.

On November 19, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) released Jari Osborne’s short documentary Picture This for free online streaming. (Osborne’s previous NFB documentaries include Unwanted Soldiers and Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story.)

The 33-minute film profiles Toronto disability awareness consultant and podcaster Andrew Gurza, who identifies himself as a “queer cripple”, as he prepares for the second edition of a sex-positive play party, which has been labelled a “handicapped orgy” by the media and garnered international coverage.

Andrew Gurza with model
Andrew Gurza with model
JESSICA RAE

Gurza previously held a discussion in Vancouver in 2016, in conjunction with Vancouver queer organization Health Initiative for Men, that was filmed for and is featured in the documentary.

Among the topics Gurza discusses in the documentary, he describes the awkwardness and discomfort he has witnessed potential sex partners have been unable to hide (not to mention his own heartbreak) once they find out he is disabled. In addition, he also talks about the challenges of being both gay and disabled.

Picture This can be viewed below, or at the NFB website, and is also available on iTunes and Amazon.

https://www.nfb.ca/film/picture_this/https://www.nfb.ca/film/picture_this/embed/player/

 

Picture ThisJari Osborneprovided by the National Film Board of Canada

 

via Canadian documentary Picture This takes an honest look at sexuality and disability | Georgia Straight Vancouver’s News & Entertainment Weekly

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[Abstract + References] Changes in sexual functioning following traumatic brain injury: An overview on a neglected issue

Highlights

  • Sexuality has a significant impact on interpersonal relationships and psychological well-being.
  • Up to 50% of patients with moderate to severe TBI report sexual problems.
  • Sexual disorders in TBI are closely dependent on the damaged brain area.
  • TBI patients and their caregivers should be provided with information useful to achieve a better sexual health.

Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is any damage to the skull and/or the brain and its frameworks due to an external force. Following TBI, patients may report cognitive, physiological and psychosocial changes with a devastating impact on important aspects of the patient’s life, such as sexual functioning. Although sexual dysfunction (SD) occurs at a significantly greater frequency in individuals with TBI, it is not commonly assessed in the clinical setting and little information is available on this crucial aspect of patients’ quality of life. As the number of people with TBI is on the rise, there is a need for better management of TBI problems, including SD, by providing information to patients and their caregivers to achieve sexual health, with a consequent increase in their quality of life. Discussing and treating sexual problems in TBI patients enters the framework of a holistic approach. The purpose of this narrative review is provide clinicians with information concerning changes in sexual functioning and relationships in individuals with TBI, for a better management of patient’s functional outcomes and quality of life.

References

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  35. Bellamkonda, E., Zollman, F. Relationship between employment status and sexual functioning after traumatic brain injury. Brain Inj2014;28:1063–1069.
  36. Miller, B.L., Cummings, J.L., McIntyre, H., Ebers, G., Grode, M. Hypersexuality or altered sexual preference following brain injury. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatr1986;49:867–873.
  37. Simpson, G., Blaszczynski, A., Hodgkinson, A. Sex offending as a psychosocial sequela of traumatic brain injury. J Head Trauma Rehabil1999;14:567–580.
  38. Simpson, G., Tate, R., Ferry, K., Hodgkinson, A., Blaszczynski, A. Social, neuroradiologic, medical, and neuropsychologic correlates of sexually aberrant behavior after traumatic brain injury: a controlled study. J Head Trauma Rehabil2001;16:556–572.
  39. Mutarelli, E.G., Omuro, A.M., Adoni, T. Hypersexuality following bilateral thalamic infarction: case report. Arq Neuropsiquiatr2006;64:146–148.
  40. Bianchi-Demicheli, F., Rollini, C., Lovblad, K., Ortigue, S. Sleeping beauty paraphilia“: deviant desire in the context of bodily self-image disturbance in a patient with a fronto-parietal traumatic brain injury. Med Sci Monit2010;16:CS15-7.
  41. Graff-Radford, N.R., Damasio, H., Yamada, T., Eslinger, P.J., Damasio, A.R. Nonhaemorrhagic thalamic infarction. Clinical, neuropsychological and electrophysiological findings in four anatomical groups defined by computerized tomography. Brain1995;108:485–516.
  42. Formisano, R., Saltuari, L., Gerstenbrand, F. Presence of kluver-bucy syndrome as a positive prognostic feature for the remission of traumatic prolonged disturbances of consciousness. Acta Neurol Scand1995;91:54–57.
  43. Janszky, J., Fogarasi, A., Magalova, V., Tuxhorn, I., Ebner, A. Hyperorality in epileptic seizures: periictal incomplete Klüver-Bucy syndrome. Epilepsia2005;46:1235–1240.
  44. Wilkinson, C.W., Pagulayan, K.F., Petrie, E.C., Mayer, C.L., Colasurdo, E.A., Shofer, J.B. et al, High prevalence of chronic pituitary and target-organ hormone abnormalities after blast-related mild traumatic brain injury. Front Neurol2012;3:11.
  45. Schneider, H.J., Kreitschmann-Andermahr, I., Ghigo, E., Stalla, G.K., Agha, A. Hypothalamopituitary dysfunction following traumatic brain injury and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage: a systematic review. JAMA2007;298:1429–1438.
  46. Lieberman, S.A., Oberoi, A.L., Gilkison, C.R., Masel, B.E., Urban, R.J. Prevalence of neuroendocrine dysfunction in patients recovering from traumatic brain injury. J Clin Endocrinol Metab2001;86:2752–2756.
  47. Carroll, B.T., Goforth, H.W., Carroll, L.A. Anatomic basis of kluver-bucy syndrome. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosc1999;11:116.
  48. Calabrò, R.S., Russo, M., Naro, A. Discussing sexual health after traumatic brain injury: an Unmet Need!. Innov Clin Neurosci2017;14:11–12.
  49. Rosen, R.C., Riley, A., Wagner, G., Osterloh, I.H., Kirkpatrick, J., Mishra, A. The international index of erectile function (IIEF) a multidimensional scale for assessment of erectile dysfunction. Urology2007;49:822–830.
  50. Stolwyk, R.J., Downing, M.G., Taffe, J., Kreutzer, J.S., Zasler, N.D., Ponsford, J.L. Assessment of sexuality following traumatic brain injury: validation of the brain injury questionnaire of sexuality. J Head Trauma Rehabil2013;28:164–170.
  51. Derogatis, L.R. The derogatis interview for sexual functioning (DISF/DISF-SR): an introductory report. J Sex Marital Ther1997;23:291–304.
  52. Gill, C.J., Sander, A.M., Robins, N., Mazzei, D.K., Struchen, M.A. Exploring experiences of intimacy from the viewpoint of individuals with traumatic brain injury and their partners. J Head Trauma Rehabil2011;26:56–68.
  53. Wedcliffe, T., Ross, E. The psychological effects of traumatic brain injury on the quality of life of a group of spouses/partners. S Afr J Commun Disord2001;48:77–99.
  54. Blais, M.C., Boisvert, J.M. Psychological adjustment and marital satisfaction following head injury. Which critical personal characteristics should both partners develop?. Brain Inj2007;21:357–372.
  55. Sander, A.M., Maestas, K.L., Pappadis, M.R., Hammond, F.M. Hanks multicenter study of sexual functioning in spouses/partners of persons with traumatic brain injury. RA Arch Phys Med Rehabil2016;97:753–759.
  56. Bivona, U., Antonucci, G., Contrada, M., Rizza, F., Leoni, F., Zasler, N.D. et al, biopsychosocial analysis of sexuality in adult males and their partners after severe traumatic brain injury. Brain Inj2016;30:1082–1095.
  57. Kreutzer, J.S., Zasler, N.D. Psychosexual consequences of traumatic brain injury: methodology and preliminary findings. Brain Inj1989;3:177–186.
  58. Gosling, J., Oddy, M. Rearranged marriages: marital relationships after head injury. Brain Inj1999;13:785–796.
  59. Kratz, A.L., Sander, A.M., Brickell, T.A., Lange, R.T., Carlozzi, N.E. Traumatic brain injury caregivers: a qualitative analysis of spouse and parent perspectives on quality of life. Neuropsychol Rehabil2017;27:16–37.
  60. Verschuren, J.E., Enzlin, P., Dijkstra, P.U., Geertzen, J.H., Dekker, R. Chronic disease and sexuality: a generic conceptual framework. J Sex Res2010;47:153–170.
  61. Calabrò, R.S., Polimeni, G., Bramanti, P. Current and future therapies of erectile dysfunction in neurological disorders. Recent Pat CNS Drug Discov2011;6:48–64.
  62. Calabrò, R.S., Furnari, A., Bramanti, P. Treatment and rehabilitation of sexual dysfunction in neurological diseases. in: R.S. Calabrò (Ed.) Male Sexual dysfunction in neurological disorders: From pathophysiology to rehabilitationNovaNY: Hauppauge2010.

via Changes in sexual functioning following traumatic brain injury: An overview on a neglected issue – Journal of Clinical Neuroscience

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[ARTICLE] Epidemiology of Traumatic Brain Injury in Europe: A Living Systematic Review – Full Text

ABSTRACT

This systematic review provides a comprehensive, up-to-date summary of traumatic brain injury (TBI) epidemiology in Europe, describing incidence, mortality, age, and sex distribution, plus severity, mechanism of injury, and time trends. PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, and Web of Science were searched in January 2015 for observational, descriptive, English language studies reporting incidence, mortality, or case fatality of TBI in Europe. There were no limitations according to date, age, or TBI severity. Methodological quality was assessed using the Methodological Evaluation of Observational Research checklist. Data were presented narratively. Sixty-six studies were included in the review. Country-level data were provided in 22 studies, regional population or treatment center catchment area data were reported by 44 studies. Crude incidence rates varied widely. For all ages and TBI severities, crude incidence rates ranged from 47.3 per 100,000, to 694 per 100,000 population per year (country-level studies) and 83.3 per 100,000, to 849 per 100,000 population per year (regional-level studies). Crude mortality rates ranged from 9 to 28.10 per 100,000 population per year (country-level studies), and 3.3 to 24.4 per 100,000 population per year (regional-level studies.) The most common mechanisms of injury were traffic accidents and falls. Over time, the contribution of traffic accidents to total TBI events may be reducing. Case ascertainment and definitions of TBI are variable. Improved standardization would enable more accurate comparisons.

Introduction

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is among the most severe types of injury in terms of both case fatality1 and long-term implications for survivors.2 Treatment of TBI can be complex and expensive.3 Upon clinical examination, TBI is most commonly sub-divided into mild, moderate, and severe, according to the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS).4,5 Such categories have been found to be predictive of a patient’s long-term outcome,6 although other measures and models also have been tested.7,8

A previous review of the epidemiology of TBI in Europe concluded that the leading causes of TBI were road traffic collisions, and falls.3 Consequently, in a densely populated and economically advanced area such as the European Union (EU), the potential for prevention of morbidity and mortality is great. The variability in incidence and mechanism of TBI, which may be observed on this mainly contiguous land-mass with a well-developed road network, is also of scientific interest, as it may lead to better prevention of TBI. Countries within the EU adhere to certain multi-national laws and agreements, but nonetheless retain their own law-making and enforcement responsibilities.9 This may add further complexity to the understanding of TBI epidemiology, for example, in the contributions of varying road speed limits or the legal restrictions on the availability of firearms. More generally, the issues relating to the contemporary demographic and lifestyle characteristics of the similar countries or regions suggest that epidemiological trends from EU countries also may be applicable to other high income countries.

Considerable variability has been observed between national rates, largely attributable to significant variability in data collection, case ascertainment, and case definition. This has led to calls for standardized definitions and data collection in population-based studies, and an associated paradigm shift in studying TBI and its impact.10–12

In order to improve the understanding of causes of TBI and the scale of the problem, it is important to analyze the current situation and time trends, using good quality comparable observational studies. One comprehensive systematic review of the epidemiology of TBI in Europe was published nearly ten years ago.3 A recent systematic review,13 published as a follow-up to Tagliaferri (2006),3 addresses similar issues but was more restrictive in dates of publication (1990–2014) and has not been set up as a “living” systematic review (i.e., it is not expected that it will be kept up-to-date as new research is published).13

The overall objective of this systematic review was to provide a comprehensive, up-to-date summary of TBI epidemiology in Europe by reviewing all relevant observational studies. Specific aims were to determine the incidence, mortality, age, and sex distribution of TBI in Europe, along with the severity and mechanism of injury and time trends. […]

 

Continue —> Epidemiology of Traumatic Brain Injury in Europe: A Living Systematic Review

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[BLOG POST] Brain Injury and Sex: What Happens After a TBI?

By Xavier Figueroa, Ph.D.

http://www.msktc.org/tbi/factsheets/Sexuality-After-Traumatic-Brain-Injury

womens-brainsWhat is the largest sex organ in the body?

The brain, of course! (Followed by the spinal cord ganglia but let’s not judge).

Intimacy, desire, physical contact and pleasure, they are very basic needs in a relationship. Marriages, partnerships and friendships rely on this most basic link. But when a brain injury occurs, changes in desire and drive (hypo- and hyper-sexuality) can become apparent. Energy and mood can also be affected, which can induce a change in libido, interest and desire. Damage to certain portions of the brain may affect your ability to move, reducing spontaneity and self-esteem. Elements of coming to terms with the trauma, such as shock and recovery may take time, as well as recovery from physical rehabilitation. If the injury is chronic, other changes may become apparent, including cognitive and behavioral changes that shift how friends and partner interact with each other.

Much of these changes can occur days, weeks or even months after the injury, even in mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries. Knowing how to identify, adapt and overcome the changes associated with an ABI/TBI is an important part of recovery.

The most important information to take away from this post is the following: you are not alone, you are not abnormal and you will get better. Millions of individuals and couples have gone through the recovery of a brain injury and difficulties with reestablishing a functional sexual relationship. Hang in there.

What the Problem Looks Like

When we talk about sex, we are talking about something that is simple in practice, but complex in execution. Prior to the brain injury, a pattern of behavior between yourself and your partner was established. How you interacted and what you expected prior to and leading to sexual intimacy were established and anticipated. I wouldn’t call it a pattern (that’s not very exciting!), but a role in which you knew which part each one would play.

A brain injury directly affects the biggest and most important sex organ in the human body. It’s no wonder that sexual issues appear in 50-60% of people that suffer a moderate to severe TBI. In a recent article in US News and World Report (Health Day, April 29, 2013; Link) that reported on the study that appeared in NeuroRehabilitation: An International Journal:

‘The study found that 50 percent to 60 percent of people with TBI have sexual difficulties, such as reduced interest in sex, erectile dysfunction, pain during sex, difficulties in vaginal lubrication, difficulties achieving orgasm or staying aroused, and a sense of diminished sex appeal, Moreno said.

The research found that partners of those with TBI experienced personality and emotional changes, and a modification of family roles that can lead to a crisis, Moreno said. “For the spouse, the survivor becomes a different person, a person they do not recognize as the one they fell in love with in the past,” he said. “The spouse becomes a caregiver and this imbalance in the relationship directly affects sexual desire.”’

Even in cases of mild TBI, there are incidences of 25-50% of people experiencing sexual difficulties [1], especially in individuals exposed to bomb-blast injuries. Brain injuries are not mild…they can take a life of their own and totally transform who you are and how you relate to your significant other (spouse, partner or lover). Many of these changes can be divided into 5 major groups:

  • Decreased Desire (Hyposexuality): inability to become interested in sex.
  • Increased Desire (Hypersexuality): inappropriate sexual behavior; constant focus on sex.
  • Decreased Arousal: Difficulty in achieving erection/lubrication.
  • Difficulty or Inability to Reach Orgasm/Climax:
  • Reproductive Changes: Low sperm count; missed periods.

But these are just the changes that occur with sexual interaction (as if that weren’t enough). These are behavioral changes that hide deeper and more profound changes that can occur throughout the body. Changes in sexual desire are like the proverbial canary in the coal mine…it warns you that something is amiss.

That Voodoo That You do…

Damage to the brain can induce a number of changes:

Fatigue/Tiredness

Hormonal Changes

Emotional Changes

Cognitive Changes

Spasticity/Movement Problems

These changes can come from very specific damage to certain areas of the brain, such as your pituitary, the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. When you get down to it, sex is a very complicated process…neurologically speaking! A number of body systems have to work together to make the engines of desire go vroom…and when one system is not working, then it can cause the engine to misfire and stall.

The Tiny Organ

The pituitary gland is a tiny portion of the brain… but don’t let its size fool you. It is a master regulator of hormones that, when damaged, can diminish your ability to regulate your blood pressure, sleep cycle and hormones.

tiny_organThe function of the pituitary is diverse, as it can affect a number of really important functions:

Hormones secreted from the pituitary gland help control the following body processes:

  • Growth
  • Blood pressure
  • Pregnancy and stimulation of uterine contractions during childbirth
  • Breast milk production
  • Sex organ functions in both males and females
  • Thyroid gland function
  • The conversion of food into energy (metabolism)
  • Water and osmolarity regulation in the body (which affects blood pressure)
  • Water balance via the control of re-absorption of water by the kidneys
  • Temperature regulation
  • Pain relief

If that weren’t enough, this can cascade into disease states that may not seem related to a TBI. One thing that we are seeing with returning veterans is pituitary dysfunction is present and undiagnosed or under diagnosed. Even with hormone or growth factor replacement therapies, a pituitary that is not firing on all cylinders will continue to cause long-term problems. Although changes in sexual interaction are the most visible and can be due to pituitary damage, they warn that the damage is more profound. The Big Organ (the brain) has a lot of functions related to behavior…and when it comes to sex, behavior is key (good or bad).

The Tiny Brain (Hypothalamus)

This portion of the brain, the hypothalamus, is a close neighbor to the pituitary. So close, they are friends with benefits. One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is to link the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland (another name of the pituitary is the hypophysis).

The hypothalamus is more of a region than an actual structure. It is composed of many groups of neurons (called nuclei) that control a wide variety of hormonal secretions and behaviors. In a recent small scale study of severe TBI, it was discovered that ~21% of study subjects suffered from hypothalamic-hypophysial dysfunction. In about 40% of male TBI sufferers, there was a detectable drop in testosterone levels [2], which can affect sexual drive and desire in men. About 15% of all patients with a TBI have some degree of hypopituitarism that can go unrecognized and could be mistakenly ascribed to persistent neurologic injury and cognitive impairment [3].

The reason for the hypothalamic damage being mistaken for neurologic injury and cognitive impairment are due to the very broad effects that the hypothalamus exerts on metabolism and brain function. If the hypothalamus is misfiring, it takes a very involved physician (or physicians), with training in neurology, endocrinology and/or experience with TBI to identify the problem. A lot of systems can malfunction in a brain injury.

The Frontal Lobe

The frontal lobe (in green).

The frontal lobe (in green) • tumblr

In head injuries, damage to the frontal lobe is thought to occur frequently. Car crashes (especially front end collisions, are thought to cause frontal and occipital lobe damage. Damage to the frontal lobe has been reported to cause individuals to behave inappropriately in response to normal social situations. Loud or overly-boisterous exchanges, inappropriate genital touching (in public) or fixation on one subject or person have been reported outcomes after a TBI. Changes in emotional affect (expression of emotions) that are felt may not be expressed in the face or voice. For example, someone who is feeling happy would not smile, and his or her voice would be devoid of emotion. This can be very disconcerting to a partner and can be experienced a loss of affection or interest. How a partner or loved one that is a caretaker of a TBI victim experiences the injury will have a direct effect on their own sexual desire and interest.

Along the same lines, though, the person may also exhibit excessive, unwarranted displays of emotion or poor control of anger. Poor anger management is associated with some forms of frontal lobe damage. Depression is not an uncommon outcome from a head injury, especially if there is frontal lobe damage. Also common along with depression is a loss of or decrease in motivation. Someone might not want to carry out normal daily activities and would not feel “up to it”. Sex might not seem as interesting or motivating.

Those who are close to the person who has experienced the damage may notice that the person no longer behaves like him or herself. The frontal lobe is the same part of the brain that is responsible for executive functions such as planning for the future, judgment, decision-making skills, attention span, and inhibition. These functions can decrease drastically in someone whose frontal lobe is damaged. A short list of behavioral changes associated with frontal lobe damage is given below:

  • Agitation
  • Explosive anger and irritability
  • Lack of awareness and insight
  • Impulsivity and disinhibition
  • Emotional lability
  • Self-centeredness
  • Apathy and poor motivation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Inflexibility and obsessionality
  • Sexual problems

Frontal lobe damage is only one part of cerebral cortex, but is the most common type of cortical damage due to a TBI. Other parts may be damaged as well. Frontal lobe damage is common and better associated with impulse and emotional control, making sufferers act completely out of character and unable to control or edit themselves or their responses.

Putting it Together

So, after reading all of this, what does it do for you? How does this help you re-establish the emotional, sexual and intimate relationship you wish with your partner? As a caretaker, or as a sufferer, the TBI is a big elephant in the room. It exists; it takes up space in your life, even though it can’t be seen. The person you knew is not present…they have not come back from their injury and they might not come back. Some do recover, others do not. But you can still create a new bond, a new relationship and a new life. And you can fight to repair the damage to the brain.

There are limited options for therapy in current medical practice. Mostly, it is focused on developing new skills, relearning old ones, developing coping skills or taking medications. That’s just for the TBI sufferer, not the caretaker(s). The complexity and variety of problems that pop-up when dealing with a brain injury are truly staggering and expensive. Fortunately, the majority of mild-to-moderate TBI’s do recover. Patience and persistence in therapy are required in order to make a recovery.

Unfortunately, for a portion of all TBI sufferers, recovery may take years. That is a long-time to wait. Therapies that help to re-build the brain connections (neuroplasticity) or restore blood flow to the brain hold promise for restoring function again. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is one such therapy that has a good number of clinical studies to support its use for chronic TBI and PCS [4-9]. Near infra-red and infra-red technologies show promise for a TBI therapy, as well [10-13].

Nutritional support, such as Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), has shown the ability to reduce the long-term neuroinflammation associated with a TBI [14-16] and help with white matter repair. Other nutritional therapies may exist to help mediate repair in a TBI.

The take home message is that there are potential therapies that are being developed to help treat the neurological damage of a TBI. Take heart that the “new normal” for yourself or your loved one may not need to be permanent.

  1. Wilkinson, C.W., et al., High prevalence of chronic pituitary and target-organ hormone abnormalities after blast-related mild traumatic brain injury. Front Neurol, 2012. 3: p. 11.
  2. Kopczak, A., et al., Screening for hypopituitarism in 509 patients with traumatic brain injury or subarachnoid hemorrhage. J Neurotrauma, 2014. 31(1): p. 99-107.
  3. Pekic, S. and V. Popovic, Chapter 18 – Alternative causes of hypopituitarism: traumatic brain injury, cranial irradiation, and infections, in Handbook of Clinical Neurology, M.K. Eric Fliers and A.R. Johannes, Editors. 2014, Elsevier. p. 271-290.
  4. Boussi-Gross, R., et al., Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Improve Post Concussion Syndrome Years after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury – Randomized Prospective Trial. PLoS One, 2013. 8(11): p. e79995.
  5. Wolf, G., et al., The effect of hyperbaric oxygen on symptoms after mild traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma, 2012. 29(17): p. 2606-12.
  6. Harch, P.G., et al., A phase I study of low-pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy for blast-induced post-concussion syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. J Neurotrauma, 2012. 29(1): p. 168-85.
  7. Lin, J.W., et al., Effect of hyperbaric oxygen on patients with traumatic brain injury. Acta Neurochir Suppl, 2008. 101: p. 145-9.
  8. Shi, X.Y., et al., Evaluation of hyperbaric oxygen treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders following traumatic brain injury. Chin Med J (Engl), 2006. 119(23): p. 1978-82.
  9. Wright, J.K., et al., Case report: Treatment of mild traumatic brain injury with hyperbaric oxygen. Undersea Hyperb Med, 2009. 36(6): p. 391-9.
  10. Grillo, S.L., et al., Non-invasive infra-red therapy (1072 nm) reduces beta-amyloid protein levels in the brain of an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model, TASTPM. J Photochem Photobiol B, 2013. 123: p. 13-22.
  11. Gkotsi, D., et al., Recharging mitochondrial batteries in old eyes. Near infra-red increases ATP. Exp Eye Res, 2014. 122: p. 50-3.
  12. Quirk, B.J., et al., Near-Infrared Photobiomodulation in an Animal Model of Traumatic Brain Injury: Improvements at the Behavioral and Biochemical Levels. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, 2012. 30(9): p. 7.
  13. Naeser, M.A., et al., Significant Improvements in Cognitive Performance Post-Transcranial, Red/Near-Infrared Light-Emitting Diode Treatments in Chronic, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Open-Protocol Study. JOURNAL OF NEUROTRAUMA, 2014. 31: p. 10.
  14. Pu, H., et al., Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation improves neurologic recovery and attenuates white matter injury after experimental traumatic brain injury. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, 2013. 33(9): p. 1474-84.
  15. Lewis, M., P. Ghassemi, and J. Hibbeln, Therapeutic use of omega-3 fatty acids in severe head trauma. Am J Emerg Med, 2013. 31(1): p. 273 e5-8.
  16. Hasadsri, L., et al., Omega-3 fatty acids as a putative treatment for traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma, 2013. 30(11): p. 897-906.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. I am not giving medical advice, diagnosis or treatment recommendations. The posts on this blog are my opinion. If you are thinking of following or using any of this information for any health related conditions, I would recommend you talk to your physician and seek guidance and help. I try to be as meticulous as possible in the information I use for these posts. I look for potential therapies that are low-risk/high impact. There are no guarantees, but knowledge is power and self-direction can lead you to uncover and do incredible things.

Source: Brain Injury and Sex: What Happens After a TBI? | Brain Health & Healing Foundation

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[VIDEO] Sex and Masturbation after a Spinal Cord Injury – YouTube

Live To Roll – This is my personal knowledge and experience about having sex after a SCI as well as how to best achieve ejaculation during sex and masturbation.

Content times:
Can I get erections and have sex? – 1:20
Intimate Rider – 3:33
Achieving ejaculation – 8:44

Intimate rider
https://www.intimaterider.com

Ferti-Care Medical vibrator
https://medicalvibrator.com

Wand massager

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https://www.amazon.com/Magic-Massager…

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https://www.amazon.com/Hitachi-Massag…

Intro music by: Art of Decay

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[WEB SITE] Dating Someone With a Disability Doesn’t Have to Be Awkward

blonde woman and boyfriend embracing each other

My Boyfriend Has a Disability. So What?

The next time, it wasn’t really weird at all.

Now, I honestly barely notice – or care ‒ that he has no foot from the left shin down (for which he wears a prosthetic leg). To answer your next question: he was born with it, due to amniotic band syndrome, which can restrict growth of limbs in the womb and cause other problems such as cleft palate. To answer your other question — we met online.

Incidentally, he also has a corrected club foot, a scar from a corrected cleft lip, issues with his hands — one has just two fingers and a thumb, and the other has four fingers which work fine but look a bit oddly shaped at closer inspection. But so what? Nothing much to see here (apart from the fact that he’s also gorgeous). Move along. Right?

Or so I thought. I’m more than a little flabbergasted at the latest figures from the charity Scope, released ahead of Valentine’s Day, which suggest that 67 percent of people in Britain “feel uncomfortable talking to disabled people.” Apparently, my generation, the maligned millennials feel twice as uncomfortable as other groups, with 21 percent saying that they had “actually avoided talking to a disabled person.” This has prompted Scope to launch a campaign called “End the awkward.”

Well, I’ve been on a lot of first dates, and let me tell you about awkward. Silence between two people who have nothing in common is awkward. Making a joke and having the other person not laugh at all is awkward. Hell, even accidentally making intense eye contact with a stranger on the train is awkward.

Honestly, when my now-boyfriend first told me on our first date, my reaction was “Huh, interesting, why’s that, hmm these meatballs are really good, tell me more, does it bother you, how does it affect you, do you want another drink, please let’s have another cocktail so we can keep talking.” But I don’t think I’m unusual or being especially good or anything, to be clear. It was just common sense to me.

Obviously, I do notice — in the sense that I can see. But does it bother me? Is it really awkward? Er, no.

Being with someone who has a disability definitely shouldn’t be awkward. Yes, it’s something you might not encounter every day, but as far as dating goes, it’s generally something to accept and get used to, like someone’s nervous laugh, their inability to grasp why you care so much about a certain television show, or their annoying habit of always being late (and yeah, he does the last one too, but then so do I, so who am I to judge?).

Maybe it’s because as a kid I was told not to stare at people with disabilities, the same as I was told not to stare at any people. And while some people with disabilities will tell you they welcome people looking and asking questions about obvious markers of appearance, others say they hate it. Just like everyone.

I do accept that there are certain issues. Yes, luckily for him, my boyfriend doesn’t need anyone to help him with doing stuff, and he doesn’t have to use a wheelchair (although he does use one sometimes), which might be harder to manage.

And no, it doesn’t hurt that I find him ridiculously sexy and that he himself is pretty open and comfortable about things.

But I’d be lying if I said I’d never worried about whether we’ll ever be able to do typical couple-y stuff like go on long country walks (because too much walking can hurt) or, I don’t know, hike Machu Picchu.

I sometimes worry about other people’s potential reactions — in case it might hurt or annoy him rather than because I give a toss what people think. I don’t like it when his leg causes him pain. I feel sad that the disability means he hasn’t always been as confident as he might have been.

And sure, I’ve had moments of sadness and doubt where I’ve thought, Wow, maybe we’ll never be able to take glorious city breaks where we walk round the sights and streets until our feet ache like hell to the point where our cold drink at the bar afterward feels like heaven.

But you know, I’m sure – if our relationship is meant to be ‒ we’ll figure it out, just like anything in any relationship. Do a bit less walking, a bit more taking the train or car. A bit less hiking up hills and a bit more sitting in country pubs. Something else altogether. It’s hardly purgatory.

Disability is just not a dealbreaker for me in the same way someone being rude to me would be. Or someone humiliating me or someone who just stops texting for no reason or generally behaves like a jerk. That’s freaking awkward. As anyone who’s done dating in a city will tell you, at length, you don’t have to have a disability to do those things.

Which is why I’m genuinely surprised at the Scope figures.

Admittedly, before I met my boyfriend, I didn’t really know anyone who had real mobility problems and hadn’t given people with disabilities much thought, other than briefly thinking that living with a disability must be pretty hard work.

But I still don’t give people with disabilities (as if they’re one big group…) much thought, even though I’m dating someone who qualifies. Because “they” often don’t need you to treat them hugely differently to anyone else.

OK, so people in wheelchairs need you to consider access, people who can’t walk far might need you to consider transport alternatives. People with learning disabilities might need you to make other allowances or slightly alter your expectations of what they can do.

But the key thing here? They’re all people. The same damn rules apply.

Treat others how you want to be treated. Consider everyone as individuals with interests, flaws, successes, insecurities and passions, just like everyone else. We’ve all got things to deal with in life. Some people’s are just a bit more visible.

My boyfriend may not have all his limbs or fingers, but he’s still a whole human being. And whatever happens with us, relationship-wise or otherwise, that won’t change. Duh.

If the Scope research makes people realize that a bit more, perhaps we can all (especially people my age, please!) focus less on the fact that people with disabilities are “awkward” and more on the important relationship issues. You know, like giving him a hard time for how long he takes to text back, taking issue with the fact he doesn’t like whisky (WHAT? I LOVE it), groaning at his sarcastic jokes and trying to convince him that spirulina powder really is a superfood worth spending loads of money on.

There are plenty of things in a new relationship that can be awkward, as anyone who’s ever dated anyone will know. But your partner’s disability? Not so much.


Source: Dating Someone With a Disability Doesn’t Have to Be Awkward | The Mighty

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[WEB SITE] Let’s Talk About Sex …. After Brain Injury

 

5 reasons why my sex drive changed after a traumatic brain injury

“Sexual energy is the primal and creative energy of the universe.” — Deepak Chopra

As someone who had a fairly healthy sex drive before falling on the ice and suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI), I was confused as to what was going on with my libido.

It’s a story I hear far too often among TBI survivors — they want to be intimate with their partner, yet just don’t have the bandwidth to even consider it. The partner feels neglected and/or frustrated, and the survivor feels helpless and misunderstood. This cycle can continue for years, and I felt it was time to speak out on a topic that affects 2.5 million Americans each year, yet is rarely talked about: Sex After Brain Injury.

For the past few years I have had a “friends-with-benefits” situation with Tim (not his real name.) We enjoy each other’s company, and have a great sexual chemistry together. He lives about an hour west of the Twin Cities, so I see him only every few months, which works out perfectly for both of us.

I saw Tim several times in the first few months after my fall and it was, well, interesting. In addition to a TBI, I had also sustained whiplash, torn muscles, and a dislocated sternum. Finding a position for me to get comfortable in was challenging, to say the least. Tim was patient with me, and very gentle and kind. He understood my situation and wanted to do whatever he could to make it easier for me.

It was almost comical, the amount of work it took—propping me up on pillows so that I wouldn’t be dizzy, repositioning me every few minutes so that I wouldn’t be in pain, and let’s not forget that I couldn’t “jiggle” my head around or it would cause an instant headache.

After the first two visits, I simply wasn’t even interested in sex any more. Not because it took too much work, but because I just didn’t have the energy. I didn’t even have the desire to “make out,” and even just giving him a hug took everything I had. When Tim would stop by for a visit, I would basically sit on the couch in a zombie-like state while we talked about the weather. It was awkward, but he never made me feel bad, although I am sure he was disappointed.

His visits became less frequent, but we still talked often on the phone. Fortunately we had a good friendship, and the “benefits” were only part of the deal.

About two years after my fall, I was expecting a visit from Tim and was actually looking forward to it. I felt I was ready to give an afternoon romp another try. Alas, I had a killer headache when he showed up. He could tell just by looking at me — and hearing the difficulty I had speaking — that a romp just wasn’t going to happen.

I was so frustrated because I had actually psyched myself up enough to want to have sex again. It was the first time in almost two years that I had felt the need inside of me. I knew how good we were together in the bedroom, and wanted to experience that feeling of intimacy with him again.

He recently came to town again, and this time I was determined to make it happen. Finally, after two and a half years, Amy was ready for “sexy time” again. I still struggled with a bit of dizziness, but I powered through it and didn’t let it distract me. I reassured Tim that I was ready to try this or that, and we had a fun afternoon together. I had missed the feeling of intimacy, almost as much as I missed my memory and spunky personality.

While most of my physical injuries have healed, every inch of my body hurt the following day. It took me a few days to recover physically and restore my energy levels, but it was completely worth it — Amy got her groove back! Tim commented on the fact that he could tell my personality was returning to “normal” and was happy to see me feeling more energetic and lively.

While I am fortunate that my “friend with benefits” was compassionate and understanding, I completely get how relationships are turned upside by TBI. Not only is the person and his or her partner dealing with an invisible injury, the partner is also getting frustrated with what is and isn’t happening in the bedroom. While the person may be physically back to normal, she or he is still dealing with a lot of the invisible symptoms of TBI.

From my experience, I’ve learned that five main areas of my TBI were holding my body back from having a sex drive:

  1. Neuro Fatigue. Our energy levels are severely limited after a brain injury. Every single thing we do throughout the day requires energy. Whether it’s brushing our teeth, reading emails, going for a walk, or washing the dishes, we are taking energy from our reserves. We are easily tired, and I know that I sleep 10 hours at night, and still require a 2-hour nap during the afternoon. The thought of trying to add sex into my daily routine was daunting, and I’m sure if I had a spouse or partner, he would have been frustrated. However, it is important for the partner to understand that it’s not him (or her)—it has absolutely nothing to do with him—and it could take a long time to get our energy levels and stamina back. It took me two and a half years to be ready to participate in a single afternoon of lovemaking.
  2. Dizzy and Balance Issues. Many brain injury survivors suffer from being dizzy and having balance disorders. In the early days after my TBI, I couldn’t lie flat on my back, nor could I bend over without practically passing out. While one can try a lot of positions in the bedroom, almost all of them caused some degree of dizziness. Circle back to my first point about neuro fatigue, and combine the already-tired brain with some dizziness, and that’s a recipe for disaster.
  3. Chronic Pain. Not all brain injury survivors will have physical injuries, but I did. Even two and a half years later, I still deal with a lot of chronic pain. In the bedroom it hurt my chest, neck, and shoulders to be on the top, bottom, or anywhere in between. Again, think of neuro fatigue, coupled with chronic pain… are you starting to get the picture?
  4. Apathy. Having a total lack of interest in anything—not just sex—is one of the most common side effects of a brain injury. I remember my personality being “flat” for the first two years, and wondering if I would ever laugh again, or want to do any of my hobbies again. I can’t say it too often: every single thing we do takes energy. I think our brains instinctively try to preserve as much energy as possible, and having an interest in something is a low priority. I remember not wanting to do pretty much anything. Laundry and cooking were horrific tasks, as was driving myself to my favorite store.
  5. Overstimulation. Let’s be real: sex involves a LOT of stimulation. Even a healthy, active person without a brain injury can readily admit that sex engages pretty much every one of our senses to an extreme. Our brains are already running on conserved energy. I remember worrying that I was going to stroke-out the first time I had sex after my TBI. My heart was racing out of control, my head was pounding, I was dizzy, my entire body hurt, and all the while I was trying to make sure my partner wasn’t aware of the hell going on inside my head. Even going out to eat at a loud and people-filled restaurant is a major undertaking with all the background noise and lights and people talking. Is there any wonder that having sex is just too much for our brains?

I hope that having read this far, you are gaining a better understanding into the struggle of living with a brain injury. I hope…

  • – If you are the survivor, you give yourself grace and know that you’re not alone in the journey.
  • – If you’re the partner, you can have a better understanding of what the other person is going through. While I can’t even imagine how frustrating this has to be for you, it’s 10 times more frustrating for the survivor.

While I know I got my sexual groove back, it’s going to be different for every single person. It’s important for both of you to be patient and understanding, and for the partner to be compassionate and empathetic. And most importantly for both of you…just enjoy being there with your loved one.

Amy Zellmer is an award-winning author, speaker, and advocate of traumatic brain injury (TBI). She is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, and has created a privateFacebook groupfor survivors and also produces a podcast series. She sits on the Brain Injury Association of America’sAdvisory Council (BIAAAC) and is involved with theMinnesota Brain Injury Alliance. She travels the country with her Yorkie, Pixxie, to help raise awareness about this silent and invisible injury that affects over 2.5 million Americans each year.

In November, 2015 she released her first book,Life With a Traumatic Brain Injury: Finding the Road Back to Normalwhich received a silver award at the Midwest Book Awards in May, 2016. Her second book, “Surviving Brain Injury: Stories of Strength and Inspiration” is a collection of stories written by brain injury survivors and caregivers and will be released November 2016. for more information: www.facesoftbi.com

Amy Zellmer Award winning author, speaker, & traumatic brain injury survivor located in Saint Paul, MN

Source: Let’s Talk About Sex …. After Brain Injury | Huffington Post

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