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Sex after a Stroke?

Ruth Westheimer

Question :

My 58-year-old husband recently had a stroke. Though he has regained much of his mobility, his arm is paralyzed and his speech is limited. He gets erections but rarely ejaculates. I have not been able to locate any information about sex after a stroke. A suggestion was made to see a sex therapist, but as we live on disability payments, it is prohibitively expensive. Could you please supply me with some information?

Answer :

There is very little information available about sexuality after a stroke. I did write a piece for a medical textbook a few years ago, and here is some of the information I reported. I know that you said counseling may be unaffordable, but that is the best way of proceeding. If you call a teaching hospital in your area, they may have a clinic that offers counseling with fees that are on a sliding scale according to income. The counseling should be for both parties because your relationship does depend on both of you being satisfied. It also depends on the pattern of sexual activity before the stroke occurred. Since I cannot talk to you, I do not know if perhaps your husband needs further stimulation in order to ejaculate or if he is satisfied by the sexual activity that you do have even if he ejaculates only from time to time.

Another area that you could explore would be a change of positions. The side by side position is sometimes helpful in these situations, as long as you make sure that the stroke victim is positioned so that the "healthy" side is uppermost. You could also try mutual masturbation, oral genital stimulation, the female superior position or the use of a vibrator. Since your husband seems to be able to have erections, maybe you should just continue doing what you are doing even if from time to time he does not ejaculate.



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