Let’s talk about sex and the complexities that may arise following a traumatic brain injury

When an individual sustains a traumatic brain injury it can cause a range of cognitive, physical, emotional, and behavioural issues. In this article, we will discuss how a brain injury can change the way a person experiences and expresses their sexuality, and the problems that can consequently arise.

Can there be changes to sexual behaviour after traumatic brain injury?

There are many physical, emotional, and behavioural issues that can arise following traumatic brain injury. This can cause a wide range of changes in an individual’s sexual behaviour. These include:

  • Loss of libido
  • Inability to orgasm
  • Erectile problems
  • Lack of inhibition that can cause some survivors to behave inappropriately
  • Reduced frequency of sexual activity
  • Communication problems
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Confusion regarding sexual identity

What could the relationship consequences be?

When it comes to relationships, the difficulties referred to above can cause great stress to both the brain injury survivor and their partner. This means the person with the injury may find it hard to maintain their previous relationships, due to the challenges they face because of their injuries. They may also find it tough to form new relationships and in a world where a significant number of relationships are formed through dating apps, this can create further difficulties as the type of communication is very different.

Can there be inappropriate sexual behaviour after traumatic brain injury?

It can be common for a brain injury survivor to display inappropriate sexual behaviour, at inappropriate times and in inappropriate places. This could include:

  • Unwanted sexual propositions
  • Public exposure or masturbation
  • Sexual assault

Inappropriate sexual behaviours do not necessarily occur because the survivor has an increased sexual drive but because the person has lost the ability to inhibit behaviour and comply with accepted social norms. They may have decreased insight or awareness of their behaviour and a lack of understanding of usual social conventions. They may not appreciate that they are making other people feeling uncomfortable or threatened. Sexual behaviour can then occur at the wrong time or place or with the wrong person. This can be very uncomfortable for family and friends.

What professional support is available?

There are several different professionals that can help with sexual issues after brain injury. Help for both brain injury survivors and their sexual partners can be received from the services below:

  • Your GP
  • Clinical neuropsychologists
  • Psychosexual counsellors
  • Sex therapists

Sex is a topic that some people often feel embarrassed to talk about, as it is a very personal aspect of our lives. However, sexual activity is both important and completely natural. It is therefore stressed just how important it is to build a supportive team structure around the brain injury survivor to support them and their family through these changes.

How can Moore Barlow help

At Moore Barlow, our team of specialist solicitors understand that sustaining a brain injury can have a wide range of consequences, both physical and emotional. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury as a result of an accident, it is important to seek specialist support and rehabilitation to ensure the best possible outcome. Additionally, if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, it may be possible to make a claim for compensation to help cover the costs associated with the injury and its consequences. Contact our brain injury legal team today.