Spinal cord injury (SCI), a traumatic, life-altering event, can pose a significant impact on a man’s sexual health. Most men with SCI experience changes in sex after a spinal cord injury. SCI can disrupt communication between the brain and body, and one of the most common results is erectile dysfunction (ED), or the inability to achieve an erection firm enough for penetrative sexual intercourse.
Changes in erectile function depend on the level of SCI and whether it is complete or incomplete. A complete SCI is when a man loses all sensory and motor function below the level of injury. Paraplegia (paralysis of the lower body) and quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs) are the results of complete SCI.
Incomplete SCI involves partial damage in which the man has some sensory or motor function below the affected area.