Published date
Thursday, 5 March, 2020

More than half (57%) of stroke survivors surveyed by the Stroke Association say their sex life has changed since their stroke – with a third saying they are now too scared to have sex. 

This reluctance may be down to their fears that simply having sex again may lead to another stroke, which was highlighted in previous research

But we know that sex and relationships play a vital role in helping stroke survivors rebuild their lives after stroke.

Jenny Plumb, 37 and her partner Chris, 47 from Wokingham, were trying for their second child in June 2017, when Jenny had a major stroke.

Almost overnight, Chris became Jenny’s carer, as well as husband and dad to their 20-month-old. Questions of intimacy, sex and trying for another child caused tension and anxiety. More than anything Jenny felt her body had betrayed her and feared she would have another stroke when trying to conceive or in labour. While it took over a year for the couple to find the strength, bravery and patience to rediscover their sex life, Jenny and Chris eventually conceived in April 2019. In January this year they had the little girl they dreamed of.

Bridget Bergin, Executive Director of Stroke Support at the Stroke Association, said: “When someone has a stroke their life changes in an instant and it’s very common for it to affect your relationships, including your sex life. But sex and relationships are an important part of many people’s lives and there’s no reason why this should stop, as it can be a significant part of rebuilding their lives after stroke. We know that with the right support and therapies, you can overcome the challenges you experience in your intimate relationship after stroke.”

Professor Martin James, Clinical Director of the King’s College Stroke Programme, said: “A stroke has many effects on things that other people take for granted, and when we talk about restoring the whole person after a stroke, that includes helping people to return to a fulfilling sex life. Many people say how they struggle with their relationships and their ability to enjoy sex after a stroke but there is help and support available. Healthcare professionals are often reluctant to raise the issue, but our National Guidelines encourage clinicians to ask about sex, as one more way of supporting people with stroke to make the best recovery that they can.”

Read our sex after stroke guide which offers practical advice and sources of help.

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