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The lived experience of sexual health and intimacy among men living with a spinal cord injury: The role of the recreational therapist

Jennifer A. Piatt, PhD, CTRS, Eric Knee, PhD, Clara Valentine, Lori Ann Eldridge, MS, CTRS, Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH

Abstract


Sexual health and intimacy take on a new meaning for men after sustaining a spinal cord injury (SCI), biologically and psychologically. Yet, the majority of sexual health information provided during the rehabilitation process focuses on loss of muscle movement, erectile response, and orgasm with little therapeutic interventions focusing on intimacy, romantic relationships, and masculinity. This study employed semistructured interviews with seven men living with an SCI. The intent of this study was to better understand the lived experience of sexual health and intimacy among men living with an SCI. Phenomenological data analysis revealed three distinct themes: (1) clinical barriers, (2) internal barriers, and (3) intimacy with partner barriers concerning sexual health. The results from this study demonstrate a disconnect between the desire for sexual health and intimacy information and recreational therapy interventions.


Keywords


sexual health, intimacy, spinal cord injury, recreational therapy

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/ajrt.2021.0238

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