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Spinal Cord. 2008 Oct;46(10):679-83. doi: 10.1038/sc.2008.37. Epub 2008 May 13.

Sexual life of males over 50 years of age with spinal-cord lesions of at least 20 years.

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Department of Neurourology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.



To assess over the past year the sexuality of male patients with spinal-cord injury (SCI) over 50 years of age with spinal lesions of at least 20 years.


Subjects were stratified in two groups: 44 individuals under 60 years and 55 individuals over 60 years. A detailed sexual anamnesis was taken for all, and the SF-36 Health Survey questionnaire was completed, with questions 13 and 14 concerning overall sexual life answered through the International Index of Erectile Function.


The younger group reached a median score of +50 for each domain of the SF-36; however, the differences between the two groups are not statistically relevant. The physical domain of the SF-36 showed a median score of 43.2 for the younger versus 41.1 for the older, whereas the mental domain showed 44.8 and 43.1, respectively. In the first group, 29/44 (65.9) individuals claimed erectile dysfunction versus 43/55 (78.1%) in the second, whereas 34/44 (77.2%) of the first group reported having sexual intercourse versus 13/55 (23.6%) with P<0.01 (chi2 test). In the 2nd, 29/55 (52.7%) individuals reported physical intimacy without sexual intercourse. For each group, the overall sexual satisfaction is statistically correlated to the duration of the relationship (linear progression test P<0.05).


Median quality of life was high. Sexual intercourse is fundamental only for males of the first group. Most aging couples presented a different way of thinking about sex without the need for intercourse. Physicians should acquire knowledge about sexuality and aging in SCI patients.


This study was not sponsored.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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