This study which was carried out as part of a Master’s degree in Human Sexuality sought to explore the sexual experiences of men with SCD and to use the qualitative data thus obtained as a valuable insight into this disease with possible implications for health education, information services, disease management, counselling and further research. The sample consisted of five Afro-Caribbean men with an average age of 27, all with a diagnosis of Sickle Cell Anaemia.
With regard to previous literature of the impact of SCD on sexual function in men, the following symptoms/complications were described by the participants: Delayed sexual development/puberty: 2 Prolonged detumescence times (where erection subsides very slowly) 2 Priapism (painful erection) 2 Erectile problems 2 Mobility problems (restricting sexual positions/ activity) 2 Reduced fertility 2 One participant discovered that he was subfertile whilst planning a family. Restrictions Sexual activity may have to be ‘planned’ around the disease leading to a lack of spontaneity.
A review of the medical and research literature highlights several negative effects of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) on sexual development and function in men such as delayed sexual maturation, sex hormone disturbances, priapism (persistent painful erection usually requiring medical attention), erection problems and reduced fertility.
At present there is no information available for sufferers or others with an interest in SCD on this aspect of the disease other than the limited information to be found in medical texts which does not reach a lay audience.
Human sexuality is an integral part of our existence, a vital aspect of humanity and an important determinant of health status.
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This may raise issues in terms of self-image, male role expectations and masculinity. Self-disclosure re: disease status Often the make-or-break point in some relationships Participants discussed the difficulties of whether, how and when to tell partners about their condition.
This was important to assess the partner’s Sickle status and to see how they would feel about developing a relationship with a man with SCD. Lack of information All participants discussed that they were unaware of any literature or information regarding the sexual/ relationship aspects of Sickle Cell Disease.
Because there is a lack of information on this aspect of the disease, the Sickle Cell Society is currently looking into expanding the level of information on this subject on this website and through factsheets.
Jacqui Lambie has defended her visit to a sex shop with her staff to buy 'Christmas trinkets', explaining she is a 'very open minded person' with 'nothing to hide'.
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