Sex, Women and SCI

Our article appears in New Mobility Magazine

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 2.16.14 PMMost SCI/sex information after an injury is geared toward men: performance enhancing drugs, male fertility, catheters, penile implants, etc. Women are often told little beyond the fact that they are still able to have children. But we find out there is much, much more.

The article, written by our Executive Producer, Stephanie Lollino, focuses on how women with SCI are now using the internet for information about sex.

In the hospital and in rehab, women are often busy recovering and learning how to adjust to life in a wheelchair — and everything that goes along with it. Hardly any time is spent discussing the intimate future of sexuality and relationships. And because women can still get pregnant after paralysis, not much else is discussed.

“Some women are told they can’t have an orgasm ever again,” according to Dr. Barry Komisaruk, Professor of Psychology, Rutgers University. He studied nerve pathways in women with SCI and found many of them indeed could feel sexual sensations. Some women in the study were moved to tears.

The good news is that these days, successful sex for women after a spinal cord injury comes down to finding the right information.

Read the entire article here:

Top 10 SCI Research

Questions For 2015

top10What are the most important questions that new research can answer about spinal cord injuries?

The editors of the highly respected British medical research journal, Lancet Neurology, decided to find out. They started with over 700 questions posed by 400 respondents, more than half of whom have spinal cord injuries.

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Dr. Henry B. Betts


Henry-B-Betts-Obit-PhotoDr. Henry B. Betts, a giant of rehabilitation medicine, passed away on Jan. 4, 2015 in Chicago. He was 86.

“He was an extraordinarily gifted person, a tireless and compassionate physician and a remarkably thoughtful and passionate individual,” remembers Dr. Joanne C. Smith, CEO of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

“Dr. Betts was one of the first people I consulted for guidance,” said Thea Flaum, founder and creator of the “His wise advice, insights and belief in the website remain an inspiration to us today.”

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“I Am Not Your Inspiration”

Remembering Stella Young -- A Re-Post

BlogStella Young, a comedian, journalist and disability advocate, died unexpectedly last month. In her honor, we’d like to share a blog post we wrote last summer on her powerful TED speech, in which she discussed a few of the backward misconceptions some have of people living with disabilities. Also be sure to watch her talk from TED located at the bottom of this post.

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Pictures of People With Disabilities

Featured on New Website

Positive images of people enjoying all aspects of life while sitting in their wheelchairs have historically been hard to find. But no longer.


Image Courtesy Rachelle Chapman Friedman

Rachelle Friedman, who was injured at her own bachelorette party after being playfully pushed into a swimming pool, is promoting a new website that features compelling images of wheelchair users involved in everyday life.

Jennifer Frankfurter for PhotoAbility

They include pictures of people using wheelchairs while enjoying energetic sports activities, traveling to exotic places and of families just having fun together.

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Giving Thanks

Remembering Jeff Shannon; A re-post from November 2013.

FB profile (3)Jeff was a veteran writer on disability issues, a longtime movie reviewer and film historian as well as a regular contributor to Jeff was also a C-5/6 quad, who was injured in 1979 at age 17. We are proud to have the thoughtful, provocative and honest voice of Jeff Shannon, and in his memory, would like to share his 2013 Thanksgiving FacingDisability blog post, “Giving Thanks on the 2-for-1 Plan.”


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Pain After Spinal Cord Injury –

What Do The Experts Say?

A new fact sheet that summarizes the latest medical advice about dealing with pain after SCI has just been released. It’s a publication of the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC), which has collected data about pain from the 14 best SCI research hospitals across the nation, and put it into plain language that people can understand and use in their everyday lives.

Pain_after_SCI_iStock_000019355827XSmallHere is a brief summary:

A majority of people with SCI experience varying types of pain, both in areas with normal sensation as well as in areas that have little or no feeling. The pain is very real. It can come and go, and negatively impact the lives of patients’ even years after they’ve been rehabilitated. The fact sheet outlines these steps for dealing with pain.

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Paralyzed Man Regains Some Use of Legs

Through Radical Cell Transplant Surgery

Darek Fidyka

A paralyzed man in Poland is moving again due to a pioneering treatment involving the growth of new nerve pathways in his spinal cord. The therapy is said to have given Darek Fidyka, 40, the ability to use his legs — even though he sustained a spinal cord injury nearly four years ago.

Professor Geoff Raisman, chair of neural regeneration at University College London’s Institute of Neurology, led the United Kingdom research team. These doctors lay their claim to 40 years of research stemming from the olfactory bulbs, responsible for our sense of smell, in the brain. “The olfactory bulb is the only nerve tissue in the brain that can be regenerated,” Raisman says, “We believe that this procedure is the breakthrough which – as it is further developed – will result in a historic change in the currently hopeless outlook for people disabled by spinal cord injury.”

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Study Discovers Hot Website Topics: Sex, Dating, Relationships

sex.hush.hushInformation about sex, relationships and fertility after SCI proved to be the most highly viewed subject areas for visitors to FacingDisability. com. In fact, two out of every 10 website visitors viewed videos on marriage and children, intimate relationships and sex and fertility.

A year-long analysis of nearly 100,000 website visitors who viewed over 300,000 pages revealed that 21 percent of them watched videos that pertained to social life, fertility and family relationships. Most frequently viewed videos answered these questions: What About Sex and Dating? What’s the first thing to know about having sex after a spinal cord injury? Can women still get pregnant after a spinal cord injury? What are common psychological obstacles to sex for men after a spinal cord injury?

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What Recovery Means to a Former Olympic Swimmer

Gold medalist Amy Van Dyken-Rouen says she’s a better person for what happened to her. On June 6th this past spring, the athlete was off-roading with her husband, former Broncos punter Tom Rouen, when her ATV slid off the road and down a six-foot drop. Fortunately, Van Dyken-Rouen survived. She had sustained a spinal cord injury that left her with paraplegia. Click here to see the video.

Amy and her husband Tom Rouen — click to view her recovery story

The shocking news of her spinal cord injury hit media around the world with headlines like, “Former Olympian Paralyzed After Accident,” and “Decorated Olympic Swimmer Severs Spine.

Although most reports have described Van Dyken-Rouen’s injury as a severed spine, her physician at Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Mark Johansen explains, “Severed really isn’t an accurate term. Her spinal cord is severely damaged. Some of the nerves may have been separated, but there’s still architecture in there, so it’s not completely severed.”

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