Having Sex with an Amputee

I googled “having sex with an amputee” and “amputee sex” and just got pages and pages of porn. I am personally and professionally disappointed by the lack of resources (unless you really dig deep) for amputees and their partners.

You see, my dad is an amputee. When he was 21 he was hit by a drunk driver while fishing on a bridge in Florida. He lost 1/4 of one of his legs and his fishing buddy lost both legs up to his hips. So you can imagine that I am sensitive to the issues that face amputees and their families. Amputations (and congenital anomalies) happen for a wide variety of reasons including injury, warfare, infections, and disease. According to the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA), “Each year, approximately 185,000 Americans undergo amputation of a limb and about 1,000 children are born with a limb difference. In fact, it was estimated in 2005 that nearly 1.9 million people in this country are living with the loss of a limb.”

Growing up with an amputee in my house, I know that there are a whole host of physical, financial, social, medical, and emotional factors that amputees (and their families) have to deal with. There’s the cost of artificial limbs ($uper expen$ive), phantom pains, repeated surgeries, stigma, loss of certain types of jobs and hobbies, and the list goes on. As a sex educator, I am keenly aware of another aspect of an amputee’s life that may be impacted – sex.

An amputee may need time to heal the emotional and physical wounds relating to the amputation before they are ready to have sex. Once they are ready, the amputee and their partner are going to have to communicate really well in order to figure out what is going to work and what won’t. Amputees sometimes carry a deep sense of loss so figuring out how to have sex again might be emotional and frustrating. They may also be struggling with their new body image. Patience and understanding on the part of the partner is an absolute must. Certain positions may need to be altered or taken out of the repertoire completely. Creativity is a must. Physical therapy will help strengthen the other limbs and/or core muscles. Call a Pelvic Floor Therapist if the amputee has been bedridden for a long time and has experienced atrophy in the pelvic floor.

I’m not a sex therapist or a amputee specialist, my role here is just to educate. With 1.9 million people living with the loss of a limb in this country, I wanted to shed light on a topic that many people don’t think about, and fewer talk about.

Here are a few resources that you might want to check out:

A mom’s candid blog entry about having sex post-amputation.

One woman’s do’s and don’ts for reestablishing intimacy with an amputee.

Body image, relationships, and sexuality after amputation from ACA.

Hanger, Inc. (one of the major makers of prosthetics) offers peer support and counseling with patient advocates.

The Guide to Getting It On offers book and website suggestions for amputees.

An inspiring story about love and amputation. 

Do you know of other resources that might be helpful? If so, please share them in the comments section.

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