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Recovering After Lower Limb Amputation

Relationships, body image, and sexuality

Sexuality is much more than sex. It is about how you see yourself as a sensual being and express your feelings and emotions.

Coping with change

How you think of yourself and how you see your body after your amputation may change, so it’s important to remember the following:

  • It’s normal to feel sad, angry, and depressed. It takes time to accept changes to your body.
  • You are still the same person you were before your amputation.
  • You may be able to do many of your favourite activities but need to learn new ways to do them.
  • You may want to avoid relationships because you worry about what others think of your body. But this can lead to loneliness, isolation, and cause more problems in the future.
  • Dealing with how you feel about the changes in your body will affect how you feel about your sexuality.

Feeling more positive

Here are things you can do to feel more positive:

  • Stay involved with people you already know.
  • Join an amputee support group or talk to another amputee about how they have dealt with changes to their body.
  • Share your feelings about being an amputee with important people in your life.
  • Talk to a professional counsellor about how to deal with challenging feelings.

Tips for sex and intimacy

You can express your sexuality by touching, kissing, cuddling, as well as sex. Losing a limb does not need to limit your sexuality. It’s important to talk to your partner about your feelings and how the amputation may have changed how your body feels, looks, and works.

The following are tips to help with intimacy and sexuality:

  • Focus only on the moment.
  • Focus on what both you and your partner like.
  • Tell yourself that it is okay to try new ways of being sexual. For example, you can use pillows to help with balance, or explore new positions and ways of being intimate. Be creative and have fun!
  • Take time to enjoy finding out what works best for you and your partner. You can still have the loving sexual relationship you had before the amputation.
  • Try a relaxing massage as foreplay to help with pain, spasms, and anxiety.
  • Pick a time of day when you feel your best, such as in the morning or after a warm shower or bath to help set the mood.
  • Remember that the hard work that you put into your rehabilitation program to get stronger also helps you during sex.

Having a satisfying sex life can lead to a better quality of life. If you want to talk to someone about intimacy, please contact your healthcare team or see the list of resources.

Blood-flow problems

It is important to know that when an amputation is due to problems with blood flow, such as with diabetes, that blood flow problems can also cause sexual problems, such as erectile and lubrication issues. These problems can also happen because of side effects from some of the medicines you are taking.

Talk to your healthcare team about how to manage sexual problems related to problems with blood flow.​​

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