Perceived Physiological and Orgasmic Sensations at Ejaculation in Spinal Cord Injured Men


Frédérique Courtois, PhD, Department of Sexology, Université du Québec à Montréal, CP 8888, succursale Centre ville, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3P8 Canada. Tel: (514) 987-3000 ext. 7713; Fax: (514) 987-6787; E-mail:


Introduction.  With the advances in penile vibrator stimulation (PVS), most spinal cord injured (SCI) men can self-ejaculate. Oral midodrine may further increase ejaculation success, while maintaining autonomy. Since most SCI men attempt ejaculation for sexual rather than reproductive purposes, self-ejaculation should be emphasized and sensations explored.

Aims.  Explore (i) self-ejaculation success rate in SCI men; (ii) vascular parameters indicative of autonomic dysreflexia (AD) during sexual stimulation and ejaculation; and (iii) sensations associated with ejaculation.

Methods.  Ejaculation was assessed on 81 SCI men with complete ASIA A (49%) and incomplete B to D lesions (51%), subdivided into tetraplegics (C2–T2), paraplegics sensitive to AD (T3–T6), paraplegics not sensitive to AD (T7–T10), paraplegics with lesions to the emission pathway (T11–L2), and paraplegics with lesions interrupting the emission-ejaculation pathways (L3–below). Natural stimulation was attempted first followed, if negative, by PVS followed, if again negative, by PVS combined with oral midodrine (5–25 mg).

Main Outcome Measures.  Ejaculation success, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and perceived physiological and orgasmic sensations.

Results.  Overall 91% reached ejaculation, 30% with natural stimulation, 49% with PVS and 12% with midodrine plus PVS. Midodrine savalged up to 27% depending upon the lesion. Physiological and orgasmic sensations were perceived significantly more at ejaculation than sexual stimulation. Tetraplegics did not differ from paraplegics sensitive to AD on perceived cardiovascular and muscular sensations, but perceived significantly more autonomic sensations, and generally more physiological sensations than lower lesions unsensitive to AD.

Conclusion.  Most SCI men can self-ejaculate and perceive physiological and orgasmic sensations. The climactic experience of ejaculation seems related to AD, few sensations being reported when AD is not reached, pleasurable climactic sensations being reported when mild to moderate AD is reached, and unpleasant or painful sensations reported with severe AD. Sexual rehabilitation should emphasize self-ejaculation and self-exploration and consider cognitive reframing to maximize sexual perceptions. Courtois F, Charvier K, Leriche A, Vézina J-G, Côté I, Raymond D, Jacquemin G, Fournier C, and Bélanger M. Perceived physiological and orgasmic sensations at ejaculation in spinal cord injured men. J Sex Med 2008;5:2419–2430.