Sexual health and sexual quality of life among individuals with spinal cord injury in Latin America

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Longoni, Melina Noemi
Ertl, Melissa E.
Ramos-Usuga, Daniela Lucía
Carballea, Denise
Degano, Mariela
Perrin, Paul P
Arango-Lasprilla, Juan Carlos
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American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA)
Background: Sexual changes are an area of primary concern for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) and their partners, but the topic has gone largely unexplored in the research literature. Objectives: This study examined how individuals with SCI in Latin America experience their sexuality and what issues they and their partners face in this area. Methods: A total of 248 individuals with SCI from Latin America completed an online 60-item survey regarding sexuality. Results: The majority of participants (87.7%) reported that they had noticed changes in sexuality after the injury, mainly physical problems (50.7%), emotional problems (38.7%), and changes in relationships with partners (27.5%). Regarding sexual desire, 47.2% indicated that desire remained the same after SCI. The majority of participants (81.9%) indicated not having received any information about sexuality after SCI during their hospital stay but reported that they would have liked to have received information (98.1%). Of all participants, 66.1% reported never having been asked about problems or difficulties in their sexual life after SCI by any health professional. Conclusion: Interventions designed to educate individuals with SCI regarding the effect of injury on their sexual functioning, responsiveness, and expression, as well as to support them in maintaining and enhancing their sexual well-being, may be extremely beneficial, particularly in Latin America. Findings highlight the distinct need for professionals to introduce the topic of sexuality by discussing it in a straightforward, nonjudgmental manner and to integrate discussions about sex and related issues into assessment, planning, and ongoing treatment.
quality of life, sexuality, spinal cord injury, Latin America
Longoni Di Giusto, M.; Ertl, M. M.; Ramos-Usuga, D.; Carballea, D.; Degano, M.; Perrin, P. B.; Arango-Lasprilla, J. C. (2023). Sexual Health and Sexual Quality of Life Among Individuals With Spinal Cord Injury in Latin America. In: Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, 29(1), 54–69.