Intimacy and sex after stroke: how to start the conversation

The session shares insights from different perspectives and suggests how we might begin positive and open conversations about intimacy and sex. It also underlines the need for greater awareness about intimacy and sex after stroke

Doug Youngson

Doug Youngson – is a Learning and Development Trainer with the Stroke Association, UK. He has a Masters in Person-centred Psychotherapy and 12 years’ experience of supporting people affected by stroke and brain injury, through the Stroke Helpline and his own counselling practice.

Doug’s current work focusses on training staff in the skills needed to have difficult conversations. He is passionate about rebuilding lives after stroke and believes that conversations about sex are an important part of this.

His presentation on how to develop confidence and practical tips on how to have meaningful conversations for both healthcare professionals and stroke survivors can be viewed at 18:33 in the video.

Supporting Slides

Doug Youngson Q&A:

Do you know of any published resources that are accessible to people with aphasia?

How do we answer questions about positions and physical difficulty after stroke?

Do you have any suggestions for stroke survivors who are older and severely affected by the stroke and may see that this is the end of a having relationships - either companionship or intimate?

If someone has their stroke during sex, they can be understandably anxious about exploring sex again...any advice on how to overcome this?

Diana Wong Ramos

Diana Wong Ramos – Diana Wong Ramos was 34 years old and working as a journalist-editor for a magazine in Portugal when she had a Cerebral Venous Thrombosis stroke.

Diana could not walk but thanks to exhaustive work with a multidisciplinary rehabilitation team she began to regain some mobility and independence. Diana’s life has changed to adapt to her new circumstances and she has a special interest in Patient Advocacy and Patient Engagement and was involved in the creation of the first Portuguese association of stroke survivors (Portugal AVC – Union of Survivors, Family and Friends and participated in the redesign of the Stroke Action Plan for Europe 2018-2030.

Watch the interview where Dianna discusses her story, focusing on wellbeing and healthy sexuality after stroke, and how healthcare professionals and stroke survivors can start this conversation. This can be viewed at 33:50.

Diana Wong Ramos Q&A:

How fast after stroke (after month, half a year) can patient start intimate life and what does it depend on?

Looking back to when you had your stroke - are any resources or conversations with professionals that you think would have been helpful?

Would you have felt comfortable being asked questions about sex and intimacy while in your early stages of inpatient rehabilitation?

I am at the stage where I do not want to explain what makes me feel less of a woman. How do you get past this stage and is it wrong if you keep it to yourself or stay single to avoid this?

Ana Carvalheira

Dr Ana Carvalheira – has been a psychotherapist and sex therapist since 1996. She is Assistant Professor at ISPA (University Institute of Psychological Science) and researcher at William James Center for Research at IPSA.

Ana is a former President of the Portuguese Society of Clinical Sexology and associate member of the International Academy of Sex Research.

The full conversation between Diana and Ana can be viewed here: