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11 February 2004

SCI: Methods to achieve erections

After a spinal cord injury, erections may not be as strong or last as long as they did before the injury. If having and keeping an erection is a problem for you, there are several things that you can explore which may help.

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Before injury to the spinal cord, men are able to get erections because of sexual arousal from thoughts, feelings or touch. After a spinal cord injury, erections may not be as strong or last as long as they did before the injury. Depending on the level of the injury, a man with a spinal cord injury may or may not be able to have an erection.

If having and keeping an erection is a problem for you, there are several things that you can explore which may help. Some of these are:

“Stuffing” method:
Stuffing a soft or semi-erect penis inside the woman’s vagina. This is easier to do with the male on top and the woman’s leg drawn up. This allows the woman to move her hips, which may result in more enjoyment. This may also be enough stimulation to produce an erection.

Kegel exercises:
For a man who is able to get an erection, the woman may be able to do Kegel exercises to help him have an erection or hold the erection longer. Once the penis is inside the vagina, the woman tightens the muscles in the vaginal area, as if she were trying to stop urinating.

Vibrators:
A vibrator held on the penis may be used to cause an erection. However, in men with injuries above T12, this may also trigger an ejaculation.

Vacuum devices:
This is a device that pumps blood into the penis to cause an erection. A plastic tube is placed over the penis and a pump is used to create a vacuum, which causes an erection. A rubber ring is placed at the base of the penis once the erection is attained. This keeps the blood inside the penis to maintain the erection. The rubber ring can also be used alone if the man is able to get an erection but is unable to keep it long enough for sex.

Medications:
There are medications available that cause blood to fill the penis, which causes an erection. One such medication is injected into the penis. Another medication comes in the form of a urethral suppository. That is, it is a very small suppository that is inserted into the tip of the penis. Viagra is possibly the most well known medication at present, and it comes in tablet form.

Penis implant:
This is a moulded plastic, silicone or metal material that is surgically placed into the penis to make it hard. Some have a pump attached so that it can be inflated to make the penis hard only when desired. Tissue from the penis is removed to place the implant.

For more information contact: DISA Health Care: (011) – 787-1222.

- Dr Elna McIntosh, Clinical Sexologist, Health24

 
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