“Before the accident, we were very sexual as a couple,” writes Rachelle of her relationship with her husband Chris. Rachelle became a C6 quadriplegic when she was playfully pushed into a pool at her bachelorette party. During her rehabilitation, the subject of sex post injury was one of the many topics she and Chris wanted to learn more about, but Rachelle had to be forthcoming with the topic.
“The doctors don’t really talk about that stuff. And even there, they don’t say anything unless you ask, which I did. Learning how to have sex all over again, in my opinion, is vital to the rehab process.”
Luckily, Rachelle was able to connect with two sources during rehab who were very open about the topic of sex: one was a nurse and the other was a female quadriplegic who worked at the hospital. Rachelle was able to ask a lot of questions so that when it was time for her and Chris to re-connect sexually, they would both feel comfortable.
Rachelle openly admits that sex post injury isn’t the same as it was before her accident. But not in a bad way; it’s just different. “The vagus nerve is responsible for the pleasure signals from sex and it totally bypasses your spinal cord and goes straight to your brain,” she explains. “So that’s why I’m kind of able to tell when I’m having sex and still feel aroused.” She says her neck, where she still has complete sensation, “is an ultra sensitive spot for me. It’s very intense.” And now for Rachelle, sex isn’t just about focusing on the climax. “At this point, it’s about feeling all those pleasure zones as they happen.”
“One reason I’m very upfront and overshare about this is because it’s such a misconception that people in wheelchairs can’t have sex or be sexy."
She wants people to know that there’s still a lot that can happen in the bedroom following a spinal cord injury.
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