Strokecast

Episode 052 — Sex After Stroke

Podcast Milestone

This is Episode 52. It’s the last episode before the show’s 1 year anniversary.

I have been doing the show every week for a full year now. Many podcasts don’t make it past episode 7. I want to thank all my guests and listeners for generously sharing your knowledge, your time, and your attention as we work to help grow the connections within the survivor, caregiver, medical, and Friend of Strokecast communities. And of course, I have to thank my girlfriend Cathy for her fantastic, support, patience and graphic design on both the show and my general stroke recovery.

And we’re just getting started.

If you’re new to Strokecast, please subscribe for free in your favorite podcast app.

Hospital Chats

About 2 weeks after my stroke, I was laying in my hospital bed and was finally able to start thinking more in the mid-term — what was life going to look like when I left the hospital. What lifestyle changes would I have to make? What was going to be different? What should I stop doing, and what should I start doing?

My rehab doctor got all my vice related questions.

Could I continue to drink alcohol. She yes, but “Just don’t drown your brain in it.”

This is Washington so should I consume cannabis? She said, “If it’s not already part of your lifestyle, now is probably not a good time to start.”

I also asked about sex. Would it be safe after stroke? Her recommendation was, “Just don’t fall.”

She had a way of having nuanced discussions that were easy to sum up in basic directions like that.

I began working on this episode several months ago. It seemed like a good idea in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. I began reaching out to my network of support groups, survivors, and professionals to find a guest who could talk about sex after stroke. The response I got was generally along the lines of, “That’s a great idea! Let me see if I know anyone.” We tried unsuccessfully to make some of those connections, but they just didn’t turn out.

There are some resources on line, but not many. There don’t appear to be many professionals who specialize in helping stroke survivors navigate issues around sex and intimacy.

I’d actually love to hear from our neuro cousins in the CP, MS, ALS, TBI, and other brain injury communities about how sex is talked about there.

So really the point I want to make here is that this episode will be a high level discussion. I’m not offering many detailed solutions. I do want to give you an opportunity to think about some of these concerns and communicate with the appropriate people in your personal and professional life to get the most out of that life. When it comes to sex and relationships, that’s probably good advice regardless of whether or not you’ve had a stroke.

Framework for Talking About Sex

There are 7 areas I Talk about on the show:

  1. Safety
  2. Physical Factors
  3. Psychological Factors
  4. Medication Factors
  5. Contraception
  6. Relationship Changes
  7. Consent and Communications

So I don’t know if I’ve solved anything with this post. I do hope that it helps you to open up your own personal discussion with whomever you ought to be having it. It’s a discussion that many people agree needs to happen, but too often doesn’t.

Sex will, of course remain a powerful force and continue to impact the dynamics of interpersonal relationships a survivor maintains. It doesn’t just become moot because someone has a disability. That just changes the conversation.

Most importantly, I’ve taken my Doctor’s advice and not fallen.

Hack of the Week

I like eggs — fried, poached, scrambled, omletted, and more. Of course, post-stroke, I’m supposed to cut down on things that can raise cholesterol, like whole eggs. For healthy eating, it’s not actually the entire egg that’s a problem; it’s the yoke.

So now, sitting in my fridge next to the eggs is carton of egg while. When I make what used to be a 3-4 egg dish, I use just one regular egg, and I make up the rest of the volume with egg white from the carton. I still get the taste and texture I want, and it’s a lot healthier.

It gets better, though. Because I have use of only one hand, I have to crack eggs with just one hand on a surface that I shouldn’t knock over. I can do it, but it’s not easy. With the carton of egg whites I don’t have to crack all those eggs myself. It’s a heck of a lot easier to just pour from the carton.

Links

Intimacy After Stroke

American Stroke Association

https://www.strokeassociation.org/en/about-stroke/effects-of-stroke/emotional-effects-of-stroke/intimacy-after-stroke

Sex and Intimacy after Stroke

StrokeConnection

http://strokeconnection.strokeassociation.org/Mar-Apr-2009/Sex-and-Intimacy-after-Stroke/

Sex After Stroke: What Couples Need to Know

Saebo

https://www.saebo.com/sex-stroke-couples-need-know/

Sex and relationships after stroke fact sheet

StrokeFoundation

https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Help-after-stroke/Stroke-resources-and-fact-sheets/Sex-and-relationships-after-stroke-fact-sheet

How Sexuality Changes After Stroke

verwellhealth

https://www.verywellhealth.com/sexuality-after-stroke-3146001

Sex and Sexuality

National Stroke Association

https://www.stroke.org/we-can-help/survivors/stroke-recovery/life-style/relationships/sex-and-sexuality/

Intimacy and sex after a stroke

The Blue Room

https://theblueroom.bupa.com.au/manage-and-recover/stroke/intimacy-and-sex-after-a-stroke

Where do we go from here?

  • Read more about sex after stroke at the links above.
  • You can also share your thoughts about sex after stroke or with a neuro condition in the comments below.
  • Please share this episode with a friend, partner, colleague, or other party who might be interested in sex after stroke by giving them the link http://strokecast.com/sex.
  • And of course, as always, don’t get best…get better.

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

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