The World Health Organization defines sexual health as “a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.”

Sexual health and well-being can play a positive role in a person’s life and overall health throughout all phases of life. Like many other aspects of our health and well-being, sexual health can be affected by disability and related secondary conditions. Sexual health is not just sexual functioning but also sexual esteem, healthy relationships, societal views of disability and sexuality, and so much more! Here we address just a few of the ways sexual health is affected in women with mobility impairments.

Sexual dysfunction has been studied in-depth in men and even in men with mobility impairments. Female sexual dysfunction been studied very little and almost no research exists on sexual dysfunction in women with mobility impairments. Visit our Sexual Functioning page for more detailed information.

Sexual Esteem

Many women with mobility impairments struggle with low sexual esteem. Visit out Sexual Esteem page and the related Self-Esteem and Body Image pages for more detail.

Sexual Activity

Many people, including some medical providers assume women with mobility impairments are not or do not want to be sexually active. Here at CROWD, our findings indicate that is not true! Though sexual activity preferences may change with the onset or progression of a disability, women with disabilities can and do have healthy, active sex lives. See our Sexual Activity page for more information.

Using Your Health Care Team

Addressing sexual health problems, like other areas of pelvic health, may be done best by working with a health care team. Because sexual health problems may be caused by issues in multiple body systems, medications prescribed by different providers, and disability and/or secondary conditions, getting your health care team to work together can be helpful. Don't be afraid to encourage you providers to contact one another. You will probably have to give permission for them to speak with each other and access your records but remember, the primary goal of all providers should be to help you!

[Return to Pelvic Health Initiative main page]