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Anonymous on August 15, 2011

Can anal sex cause a bowel movement in a person who is paraplegic?

My paraplegic girlfriend and I would like to try anal sex...but we aren't sure if it will cause a bowel accident, or if it’s safe.

answered by Mitchell Tepper, PhD, MPH on August 15, 2011

Thank you for your important question. Anal sex can be smooth sailing with a paraplegic partner, if you keep a few things in mind...

First, use common sense. I would encourage you to assess the risk of bowel accidents within the context of your girlfriend’s existing bowel routine. If bowel movements between regular evacuations are uncommon for her, then you should be relatively safe if you avoid the hours approaching the time frame when her bowel movements generally occur. But if your girlfriend has a full bowel, doesn't have an established routine or has frequent accidents, then there’s a higher risk of things getting messy.

As long as you both know the risk of a bowel accident exist, and you still want to experiment with anal intercourse, then no harm will come if an accident occurs...just know that you might be inconvenienced and have to clean things up. You can prepare yourself by spreading some protective pads on the sheets; while you’re testing the waters, it’s also good to have a soapy washcloth on hand, and a plastic bag for waste disposal.

Also remember that STDs can be transmitted through anal sex, including HIV and strains of hepatitis. So it’s a good idea to use a well-lubricated condom...a water-soluble lubricant will also ease penetration, and reduce the risks of tearing the rectal lining or breaking the condom.

That said, if your partner feels pain, bleeds or experiences dysreflexia (a dangerous spike in blood pressure), you should stop.

Related info:

Mitchell Tepper, PhD, MPH

Dr. Tepper directs sexual health education at SexualHealth.com. An AASECT-certified sexuality educator and counselor, his areas of expertise include sexual dysfunctions, sexuality following disability or illness, pleasure and orgasm, relationships, and military and veteran couples' counseling. Dr. Tepper was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

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