Supporting sexual adjustment from the perspective of men living with spinal cord injury
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STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive phenomenological approach. OBJECTIVES: This study explored the lived experience of sexuality for men after spinal cord injury (SCI) and described the current state of tools and resources available to assist with sexual adjustment from the perspective of men living with SCI. SETTING: Men living in the community in Ontario, Canada. METHODS: Six men (age 24-49 years) with complete or incomplete SCI (C4-T12; <1-29 years post injury) participated in one individual, in-depth, standardized, open-ended interview (68-101 min). Analysis was conducted using Giorgi's method, and involved within case analysis followed by cross-case analysis. RESULTS: All participants reported that resources available to support sexual adjustment after SCI were inadequate, and the majority of men felt their healthcare providers lacked knowledge regarding, and comfort discussing sexuality after SCI. Men reported sexuality was not a priority of the rehabilitation centers and felt that healthcare providers did not understand the importance of addressing sexuality. Existing resources were described as too clinical and not necessarily relevant given changes in sensation and mobility post injury. Participants provided recommendations for the effective delivery of relevant sexual education information. CONCLUSIONS: To improve quality of life for men after SCI, suitable resources must be available to support sexual rehabilitation post injury. Future research should focus on developing strategies to facilitate discussions about sexuality between individuals with SCI and healthcare providers, and on developing resources that are effective and relevant for these men.
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