It is common for people with a brain injury to experience difficulties in maintaining intimate relationships. Brain injury can cause a number of sexual problems including loss of interest in sex, impotence or a loss of confidence. These problems can be a result of the person’s injury. They can also be caused by medications
Sexual problems can be difficult to talk about, but many people benefit from discussing their problems with a doctor.
Many people with a brain injury experience a decrease in sex drive. Others may experience no change, or even an increase in their sex drive. This may be due to the parts of the brain that are injured or side effects of medication. Prescription drugs such as anti-epileptics, anti-depressants and anti-cholinergics can have side effects such as preventing erections in men and inhibiting effective vaginal lubrication in women.
Sexual problems may be caused by organic damage, emotional or psychological problems, or a combination of both. Talk to your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing – there are tests available to detect physical damage. If the problem is psychological, talking to a counsellor might help. There are options available, including medical solutions for damage to the brain or nervous system that may help overcome the issue.
Brain injury can often place a strain on personal relationships. After a brain injury a person may act differently – for example they may fail to express feelings of affection, act aggressively, act suspicious, anxious or even doubt their own attractiveness. This can make them seem like a bit of a stranger to their partner.
Forming new relationships and dating can also be a challenge for those with an ABI; meeting new people can be especially difficult when they have lost some of their social skills.
Partners and spouses may benefit from support groups
, counselling and education about brain injury, or they may choose to come to terms with the change themselves.
The ReNew team can talk with you and the person with ABI about what they are experiencing, their progress and the options available for support. For more information, contact us