Sex After a Stroke

a woman’s perspective

Anna Higgs

Sex after a stroke can be extremely scary. You worry in case an orgasm increases your blood pressure. You worry that, with only half of your body working to its full capacity, will sex be the same as it was before? Will I be able to perform the way I once did? The answers are no.

Your blood pressure won’t increase. You won’t be able to perform like you did before. But that doesn’t mean your sex life is over.

Everyone is affected differently by having a stroke – there are mild strokes when the person can work at becoming completely better, and more serious strokes, even strokes which make you unable to speak or get out of bed. I can only talk about mine, which was fairly serious.

I had a life-changing stroke aged 24, a month after my son was born. I am right side paralysed, my right arm doesn’t do much. I walk with a limp after spending a few years in a wheelchair, and I am partially sighted in both eyes. The stroke was 13 years ago. I have come on a long way, from being a stroke victim to becoming a stroke survivor (there is a huge difference). Being a victim allows the stroke win – you are defeated before you have even got out of bed. You need to take ownership of what has happened to you. Yes, your life will be completely different. You will change as a person, your feelings and fears will change. I spent five years too scared to do anything – scared of sex, as getting pregnant again was my biggest fear. My stroke was due to hormones. There was no help.

Today there is help, the link here is more informative than what it was 14 years ago but I still don’t feel there is enough information. http://strokeconnection.

My partner and I tried using a condom as I was not able to use the pill or any form of hormone-based contraception. Unfortunately I became pregnant again. As you can imagine, my world fell apart. It was 18 months post stroke and I was not strong enough to look after myself, let alone another child. So I had a termination. This increased my fear of sex so much to the point where we didn’t engage at all. My partner was frustrated I was frustrated it wasn’t the way to live. I don’t want other people to live like this so I am sharing the way I changed.

The way I did this was through acceptance. I accepted that I had had a stroke, that I was now disabled and that my life had changed dramatically. I felt fine about it. I no longer felt a stigma of being disabled. I was going to be different. I would try things that people thought I couldn’t do – try everything! There are still things I want to try. I discovered a love of burlesque. I now dance and do stand-up comedy as a disabled performer. This has increased my confidence to a point that I know longer feel shame of being disabled. I love myself and my body despite being size 14-plus, which also carries stigmas.

Sex after a stroke is tricky finding positions that work for the both of you. Experimenting is key. Please try not to feel self-conscious. If you are confident as a person and have accepted what has happened you will find things a lot easier. Sex does not have to be the boring missionary position (I would just lay there and get no pleasure at all). I was just going through the motions for my partner. But then we started to experiment not just with positions but with toys as well. My favourite position is the reverse 69. Normally the woman is on top. But in the reverse 69 the woman is on the bottom and the man on top. This is great because you still get the pleasure but you don’t have the pressure to hold your body up . My partner still likes me to sit on his face so he can lick my pussy. I can do this but not for a long time. But I make is as easy as possible. I place pillows around me to help hold my body up. Getting on and off my partner can a problem but turn it in to a game: touch and feel, lick as I am trying to get on top with my partner’s help. If it doesn’t work there is no problem, I just try another position. The doggy style, us both lying on our sides facing the same way, me in front, can be great. Place pillows all around you. Place them under your weaker side, hold onto the headboard or whatever is around you for stability. You could even get your partner to hold on to your waist to make you feel more secure.

I’m a huge lover of foreplay. Some women like clitoral stimulation others like internal. I like stimulation of my clitoris. I have tried lots of different vibrators including the rabbit ears which is quite nice, as it’s made for clitoral stimulation. Lipstick vibrators are okay but are more for internal stimulation. My great love is wand vibrators, available here:

I feel now is the time to talk about confidence and self love. You need to accept what has happened to you. You need to like and love yourself because if you don’t you will find it hard for others to love you. Masturbation is so important. It’s how you find out what you do and don’t like. The wand is perfect for women as we just need to hold it in place, no movement is needed!

If you don’t have a partner try joining the Outsiders Club where everyone accepts you and inspires each other to enjoy life.

I found total confidence through burlesque, going on stage as a disabled performer and comedian. I don’t care that I am disabled and overweight  – I embrace both. You too can find your own way to become a confident person. So go for it and good luck!