Sexuality of Disabled Athletes Depending on the Form of Locomotion

Ryszard Plinta 1 , Joanna Sobiecka 2 , Agnieszka Drosdzol-Cop 3 , Agnieszka Nowak-Brzezińska 4  and Violetta Skrzypulec-Plinta 3
  • 1 - School of Health Sciences in Katowice, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Department of Adapted Physical Activity and Sport, Chair of Physiotherapy, Katowice, Poland.
  • 2 - Faculty of Motor Rehabilitation, University School of Physical Education, Krakow, Poland.
  • 3 - School of Health Sciences in Katowice, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Chair of Woman's Health, Katowice, Poland.
  • 4 - Institute of Computer Science, Faculty of Computer Science and Material Science, Silesian University, Sosnowiec, Poland.


The main purpose of this study was to determine sexuality of disabled athletes depending on the form of locomotion. The study included 170 disabled athletes, aged between 18 and 45. The entire population was divided into 3 research groups depending on the form of locomotion: moving on wheelchairs (n=52), on crutches (n=29) and unaided (n=89). The research tool was a questionnaire voluntarily and anonymously completed by the respondents of the research groups. The questionnaire was composed of a general part concerning the socio-demographic conditions, medical history, health problems, a part dedicated to physical disability as well as the Polish version of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) evaluating sexual life. STATISTICA 10.0 for Windows was used in the statistical analysis. Subjects moving on crutches were significantly older than ones moving on wheelchairs and unaided (34.41 ±11.00 vs. 30.49 ±10.44 and 27.99 ±10.51 years, respectively) (p=0.018). Clinically significant erectile dysfunctions were most often diagnosed in athletes moving on wheelchairs (70.27%), followed by athletes moving on crutches and moving unaided (60% and 35.42%, respectively; p=0.048). Clinical sexual dysfunctions were diagnosed on a similar level among all female athletes. It was concluded that the form of locomotion may determine sexuality of disabled men. Males on wheelchair revealed the worst sexual functioning. Female athletes moving on wheelchairs, on crutches and moving unaided were comparable in the aspect of their sexual life.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Alexander MS, Brackett NL, Bodner D, Elliott S, Jackson A, Sonksen J. National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Measurement of sexual functioning after spinal cord injury: preferred instruments. J Spinal Cord Med, 2009; 32: 226-236

  • Cappelleri JC, Rosen RC, Smith MD, Mishra A, Osterloh IH. Diagnostic evaluation of the erectile function domain of the International Index of Erectile Function. Urology, 1999; 54: 346–351

  • Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine. Sexuality and Reproductive Health in Adults with Spinal Cord Injury: A Clinical Practice Guideline for Health-Care Providers. J Spinal Cord Med, 2010; 33: 281-336

  • Dinomais M, Gambart G, Bruneau A, Bontoux L, Deries X, Tessiot C, Richard I. Social functioning and self-esteem in young people with disabilities participating in adapted competitive sport. Neuropediatrics, 2010; 41: 49-54

  • Ferenidou F, Kapoteli V, Moisidis K, Koutsogiannis I, Giakoumelos A, Hatzichristou D. Presence of a sexual problem may not affect women's satisfaction from their sexual function. J Sex Med, 2008; 5: 631-639

  • Kreuter M, Taft C, Siösteen A, Biering-Sørensen F. Women's sexual functioning and sex life after spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord, 2011; 49: 154-160

  • Lombardi G, Del Popolo G, Macchiarella A, Mencarini M, Celso M. Sexual rehabilitation in women with spinal cord injury: a critical review of the literature. Spinal Cord, 2010; 48: 842-849

  • Lue TF, Giuliano F, Montorsi F, Rosen RC, Andersson KE, Althof S, Christ G, Hatzichristou D, Hirsch M, Kimoto Y, Lewis R, McKenna K, MacMahon C, Morales A, Mulcahy J, Padma-Nathan H, Pryor J, de Tejada IS, Shabsigh R, Wagner G. Summary of the recommendations on sexual dysfunctions in men. J Sex Med, 2004; 1: 6-23

  • Meston CM. Validation of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) in women with female orgasmic disorder and in women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder. J Sex Marital Ther, 2003; 29: 39-46

  • Reitz A, Tobe V, Knapp PA, Schurch B. Impact of spinal cord injury on sexual health and quality of life. Int J Impot Res, 2004; 16: 167-174

  • Rosen R, Brown C, Heiman J, Leiblum S, Meston C, Shabsigh R, Ferguson D, D'Agostino R Jr. The Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI): a multidimensional self-report instrument for the assessment of female sexual function. J Sex Marital Ther, 2000; 26: 191-208

  • Rosen R, Cappelleri JC, Gendrano III N. The International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF): a state-of-the-science review. Int J Impot Res, 2002; 14: 226-244

  • Silver JR. The role of sport in the rehabilitation of patients with spinal injuries. J R Coll Physicians Edinb, 2004; 34: 237-243

  • Sobiecka J, Plinta R, Drobniewicz K, Kłodecka-Różalska K, Cichoń K. Conditions for preparations for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games in the opinion of the Polish national team. Biomed Hum Kinet, 2012; 4: 29-37

  • Tasiemski T, Brewer BW. Athletic identity, sport participation, and psychological adjustment in people with spinal cord injury. Adapt Phys Activ Q, 2011; 28: 233-250

  • Vall J, Costa CM, Pereira LF, Friesen TT. Application of International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) in individuals with spinal cord injury. Arq Neuropsiquiatr, 2011; 69: 513-518


Journal + Issues