Sex and TBI: Conference Talk Raises Questions

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At the Southwest Conference for Disability in Albuquerque this morning, Dr. Gainer and I presented a talk entitled “Sex and the Single Synapse: Maintaining Intimacy and Social Role with TBI.” Most of the attendees were survivors who were generally interested in hearing about the issues that othes face with in their intimate relationships.

For me, the most compelling part of the talk was the Q&A that followed the presentation, in part because of the genuine need survivors expressed to be accepted and understood as sexual beings. It’s a sad reality that sexual needs are often ignored in rehab and clinical settings, and yet there are few other forums in which a survivor can raise the topic.

After the talk I was approached by a happy couple who had met following the TBI, and they thanked me for discussing sex in the context of brain injury. I encouraged them to be bold in their dealings with doctors and clinicians by asking them to discuss sexual health issues. If we initiate the conversation, I explained, we’re more likely to open the door for others to discuss their intimate needs as well.

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