Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

Anonymous on September 8, 2011

I’m a quadriplegic...is anal sex safe?

I am a man who is disabled (C4-5 quadriplegic) and gay. I have questions and concerns about anal sex without having sensation. Is it safe?

answered by
Mitchell Tepper, PhD, MPH on September 8, 2011

Thanks for sharing your concern with us.

First, anal sex always carries some risk…for everyone. Why? Well, since the skin in and around the anus is relatively thin, it can be easily damaged or torn. In turn, broken skin could lead to a bacterial infection, or – if you or the person you’re having sex with has a sexually transmitted infection – anal sex can increase the risk of transmitting an infection.

How can you make anal sex safer? For starters, use plenty of water-based lubricant, which can reduce the risk of tearing the skin. And, of course, latex condoms are the best way to reduce the risk of infection and help prevent STDs.

Regarding your lack of sensation...you may be more likely to experience tearing because you can’t tell your partner if something hurts. If you and your partner choose to have anal sex, advise your partner to be extra careful and aware of your body so that he doesn’t unknowingly tear your skin and potentially put you at risk for any infections.

Because you have spinal cord injury (SCI), there’s another concern with anal sex that I’d like to point out…

Depending on the severity of your injury, it’s likely that you have less control over your bowel movements. If this applies to you, take note of your body’s patterns. If you don’t normally have accidents between bowel movements, you probably won’t have an accident during anal sex. However, if your body’s patterns are less predictable, you may want to be careful to only have anal sex after your bowel has been emptied.

Bottom line: anal sex as a quadriplegic is certainly doable, but make sure you’re practicing safer sex, and that both you and your partner are paying attention to your body to avoid injury. And despite your SCI, you may find that you still find anal sex pleasurable.

That said, you and a partner may also find there are other ways to enjoy sexual intimacy together – including intimate touching, toys, vibrators, massage and other activities.

I wish you good luck and sexual fulfillment.

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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