Sexuality and relationship experiences of women with spinal cord injury: reflections from an Indian context

Sharma, Seema Sexuality and relationship experiences of women with spinal cord injury: reflections from an Indian context. Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters. pp. 283-300.

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Spinal cord injury (SCI) is one of the most devastating physical disabilities. It leads to varying degrees of loss in sensations and mobility below the level of injury and causes loss in autonomic functions, such as bladder/bowel control, and sexual impairments. Research, mostly conducted in developed western nations, reveals that coming to terms with one’s sexuality after SCI is most crucial for early reintegration into society and quality of life for persons with SCI. Thus, experts advocate that the sexual rehabilitation of persons with SCI is an integral component of comprehensive rehabilitation. In the Indiancontext, however, the sexuality of persons with SCI, particularly women, has been largely overlooked by thedisability rights movement, and discourses on gender, sexuality and rehabilitation. This article is based onan in-depth study of the experiences of sexuality and intimate relationships of 24 women with SCI in India. It demonstrates that sexuality and intimate relationships are integral aspects of health and well-being for women. But there are wide gaps in the sexual rehabilitation and support needs for women with SCI in India, making their sexual adjustment extremely challenging. By analysing women’s journeys of sexual adjustment and rediscovery of sexual pleasure that echo their voices as sexual beings, this article argues for the development of evidence-based and gender-sensitive sexual rehabilitation services for women with SCI in India.

Item Type: Article
Authors: Sharma, Seema
Document Language:
Uncontrolled Keywords: spinal cord injury, women, sexuality and disability, sexual rehabilitation, India
Subjects: Social sciences > Sociology & anthropology
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Development
Full Text Status: Restricted
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