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Sexuality and Brain Injury

The spouse or partner of the brain-injured patient may live in “social limbo.” There is no longer a partner with whom to participate in social activities. Higher level patients also may have difficulty adjusting within social environments.

After a brain injury, many patients have decreased empathy and sensitivity to the needs of their companions. As a result, it's often difficult for them to satisfy their companions’ needs for affection or sexual pleasure. In addition, their sexual competency and demands for sexual attention don't necessarily match. For example, many patients make incessant sexual demands whether they can be satisfied or not.

Sexuality is one way we give and receive affection in our intimate relationships. The treatment team recognizes that you or your partner may have questions or concerns about this issue. It is our intention to create an environment where you feel safe asking the most intimate questions without fear of embarrassment or judgment.

Severity of injury, personal coping style, and values may determine when sexuality becomes a topic for discussion. Sometimes questions or the need for more information arise during the inpatient stay; other times the need for professional guidance comes after discharge. In either case, we would like to remain a resource for you and your partner regarding this sensitive topic.

Also, your social worker may be contacted for published articles on this issue.

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