Sex and intimacy are not just for the able-bodied. The need for physical and emotional touch, warmth, and connection is not just for the young and healthy.
Although most physicians understand sex and intimacy are an important part of their patients’ lives, few feel capable of addressing the issues.
Having worked with healthcare providers for more than 30 years, it is clear they have a desire to address their patients’ needs for sex and intimacy, but good resources are not available. Most available information seems to be directed toward young men who have experienced a spinal cord injury, even those resources are limited.
An often-overlooked option for physicians and their patients, is occupational therapy, an OT may be able to bridge the information and treatment gap.
Occupational Therapy can address sexuality in terms of remediation, adaptation, or the use of compensatory strategies. They can also address role identification and goal setting using creative problem-solving skills with the patient.
The society and culture in which we live provides guidelines for femininity, masculinity, and gender identity that we must address when dealing with the disabled population as well.
In our weakest moments, whether physical, emotional, or financial, we need the connections to others most. Those connections remind us of the true social nature of being human, we NEED others. Love and intimacy are essential for moving forward in our lives.