It is widely recognised that a range of spinal disorders can lead to sexual dysfunction.
And yet it is not a topic that is well understood or openly discussed even in a clinical setting.
This can be pinned down to a number of reasons, which can vary from the lack of knowledge or discomfort felt by the medical practitioner who sees such patients, versus patients not being open to the idea of disclosing such information or being unable to adequately describe their problems. These issues stem from some basic deficiencies in our approach as medical practitioners, and the lack of understanding a simple fact- Sex is an important aspect of daily life. Patients appreciate simple solutions to tackle day to day issues and some dos and don’ts. But sexual activity by itself does not readily feature as part of these discussions.
In an informal survey conducted at Nottingham University Hospitals, 95% of patients presenting to the Physiotherapy Department due to back pain would have appreciated more information about how their condition could affect their sexual activity and what steps could be taken to improve this important part of their lives.
Sex And The Spine (SATS) was founded in 2016 by a group of health care professionals headed by Spine Surgeon Dr. Med. Bronek Boszczyk, who had all witnessed the devastation arising from spinal and neural injuries on sexual function. The despair of persons and couples faced with loss of genital sensation and function following injury or disease is heartbreaking. Couples no longer know how to be intimate or sexual for fear of further injury, or in some cases (often women) do not even reveal their sexual functional impairment due to shame. Making matters worse, there still is an immense taboo surrounding sexual intimacy and most heath care professionals have never been trained to comfort and counsel their patients seeking help for these conditions. Over our experience in the last couple of years in dealing with patients with spinal issues and sexual dysfunction, we understood how hard it was for patients to find answers to their questions, and solutions to their problems of sexual dysfunction. Unfortunately there is a lack of a good and genuine resource of information, for clinicians or patients to access.