8 Things You Should Know Before Dating a Paraplegic

dating a paraplegic

It might be overwhelming to navigate through the dating world, especially for someone who is having a first date with a person with paraplegia. 

Regarding romantic interest in a person with paraplegia, you may wonder what it would be like dating a person with a disability? How would things be different? Will there be any sacrifices? Will it last? 

And so on.

When you date someone with a spinal cord injury, these are the first thoughts that come to mind. 

Continue reading to get answers to all your queries.

What is paraplegia?

Paraplegia is a condition in which a person cannot move their lower body independently. 

A spinal cord or brain injury that stops signals from reaching the lower limbs is a common cause of paraplegia. 

Another cause of paraplegia is spina bifida, a congenital disability caused by incomplete spinal growth during pregnancy.

Can a person with paraplegia feel anything?

Due to the significant loss of sensation, persons with paraplegia cannot move below the level of their injuries. 

Numbness or tingling may be felt by some, while others have a loss of feeling that is less severe.

Orgasms and Sex Life

Each individual dating a person with paraplegia will face a unique set of circumstances. 

However, you can undoubtedly have a close, intimate relationship with a wheelchair user despite his condition. 

Sexual potential in paraplegia:

In most cases, sensory loss is common in paraplegia, but psycho-sexual content in primary erogenous zones stays significantly typical. 

According to the data based on a study conducted on 100 participants (Zeitlin et al. 1957), sixty-four percent of males with spinal cord injuries had achieved a full penile erection. 

Two-thirds had finished a satisfactory sexual experience. 3% of those who participated in sexual activity ejaculated, whereas 5% had an orgasm.

The capacity to achieve and sustain erections should not be used to assess a man’s sexual potential because the ability to obtain erections does not correspond to a man’s ability to feel sexually aroused.

Helping them explore their erogenous zones:

You may assist your partner or husband in exploring their body and using several senses to find different areas that are the most sensual and pleasing. 

Following the injury, many regions of the body might become sexually enjoyable. 

For example, stimulation to the earlobes or inner thighs can be interpreted as erotogenic and elicit sexual arousal. 

Intimacy Routine with Wheelchair Users

You shouldn’t allow your anxieties to drive him away if he wants to find a fun, intimate routine with you. 

Let yourself discover this process mutually.

People with paraplegia or other similar disability are more likely to hurt themselves or get pressure sores if they are not too attentive while scooting over surfaces. 

Therefore, it is essential to discuss the sex positions ahead of time.

Another issue to consider is the right fit and adjustment of the wheelchair, particularly if his sensation is limited below his injuries. 

These measures will allow him to enjoy sexual pleasure even with sensory impairment. 

Workable sex positions for wheelchair users:

Here are a few sex tips for enhancing your physical intimacy routines with your wheelchair spouse.

  • Sexual activities while seated in a wheelchair with the arms removed may make movement more comfortable.
  • If the partners have less mobility, lying in bed and cuddling sideways may be more manageable.
  • If a person with a spinal cord injury loses pelvic mobility, resting on one’s side also facilitates penetration. This position can ease pressure and avoid exhaustion.
  • A gliding seat might also be used if your partner has good upper extremity and abdominal strength.
  • Having your partner sit on a chair and you being on top usually offers more pleasure, mobility, and passion.

It all boils down to finding the perfect fit for your sex life. Find a love language that works best for you and your partner.

Have Open Communication While Dating Someone with a Spinal Cord Injury

Twenty couples where one partner had a spinal cord injury were studied by Urey and Henggeler (1987) to see how they communicated. 

The study found that couples who avoided confrontation and communicated vaguely or ambiguously were less able to cope and were unsatisfied with their relationship.

Ask Questions:

It’s a complex subject for most people to broach, but it’s critical in any relationship to convey your expectations and be aware of the expectations of your potential lover.

Tell him it’s new to you and ask if there’s anything he wants you to do or avoid or if there’s anything you should know that matters to him. 

Asking questions is the simplest way to learn what we don’t know.

Communicate your expectations:

Similarly, if you want them to divide house chores, join you on a movie night, try something new in bed, talk to you more often (or less often), give you advice, or just be there to vent, be upfront about it. 

It may feel uncomfortable initially, but clear communication goes a long way in relationships. 

Stay Informed

You might want to research the wheelchair that suits him the best and is also suitable for your sex routine. 

You may also want to study and educate yourself on reducing pressure sores and diminishing spasms for people with disability. 

Being informed of your partner’s conditions and any associated services he may need at the moment is another sign that you care.

Resist Helping

The world may see them as disabled, but most of the paraplegic population is entirely independent.


According to one research, 40% of people with paraplegia need assistance with food preparation. 

Still, fewer than 20% require assistance with other activities of daily life such as dressing, transportation, grooming, and eating. 

On a similar account, roughly 40% of people with paraplegia need assistance with medical appointments. 

In comparison, only about 20% require assistance with other practical support such as supplying medicine, arranging supplies, and performing exercises.

Unnecessary help can be detrimental:

Wheelchair users want you to accept them the way they are. 

They don’t want to be treated differently or pitied. 

You must fight the urge to help. 

Even if you want to make things easier for your partner, doing so just highlights the disparity between you two and undermines his autonomy. 

He doesn’t want you to see him as the disabled guy in the chair but as the attractive guy who is much more than his physical disability.

What Role do I play in his Rehabilitation?

You’re probably wondering if I can’t help, do I have any role in his rehabilitation journey? 

Of course, physical assistance may not be required, but you can give emotional support by comforting your partner or husband. 

Women are generally skilled in their use of words. And you can put that to great help when dating a person with paraplegia. 

Relationships with a person in a wheelchair will require changes in your sex and dating life and how you receive love. 

Learning to live with that and making necessary adjustments is another way to show that you care.

Join Spinal Cord Injury Community

Getting involved in some community or forum (online or offline) for spouses and partners of people with spinal cord injuries is a great way to learn more about dating someone with paraplegia. 

On such forums, people talk about the things they like doing in their spare time, their coping techniques, date ideas in a new light, intimate places they discovered, and how they get through tough times.

How will it help your dating life?

These platforms provide a safe space for people having a disability and their partners. People share life stories that they are embarrassed to communicate otherwise. 

Through couples’ lived experiences, you can also identify that certain seemingly impossible couple activities and sex positions are doable. 

You will also get honest advice regarding your partner’s disability and learn about the most talked about topics. 

You can ask other women whatever you are afraid of asking your partner directly.

Here are some great online communities you might be interested in joining.

There are thousands of individuals out there hoping to connect with others with similar lives. Other ways to look for such groups are to search on Facebook or Instagram. 

It will help your dating life as well.

Ending Note

Being in a relationship with a person with paraplegia requires commitment, time, tolerance, understanding, and emotional intelligence. 

With that in mind, the first step to dating someone with a spinal cord injury is to be at peace with yourself and be willing to make necessary adjustments. 

As cliché as the phrase “love yourself before you love others” may sound, it is the golden rule. 

A relationship is only as strong and healthy as the person involved.