Sep 10, 2019
Sexuality and intimacy can greatly add to quality of life at all adult ages. Sexuality is much more than just physical sexual functioning. It encompasses self-image, attraction to others, and a broad spectrum of emotional components. Certain complex problems may arise for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), including motor and non-motor symptoms, sexual functioning, diminished pleasure, and changes in relationship dynamics because of PD symptoms or drugs used to treat it. Problems such as under-sexuality or over-sexuality may also occur with PD. These problems need to be recognized and evaluated clinically by someone on the Parkinson’s care team, which may be a neurologist, nurse, physical or occupational therapist, social worker or a sex therapist who is familiar with the disease. Decades of clinical experience in movement disorders clinics as well as published research has led to practical approaches to these problems. Based on the longstanding relationship with their patients over the course of the disease, clinicians are in a good position to establish rapport with patients and care partners to educate them about potential sexual problems and help them directly or refer them as needs arise. In this podcast, Gila Bronner, director of sex therapy services at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel and a Certified sex therapist and researcher at the Movement Disorders Institute at the medical center, talks about some of the sexual problems one may encounter with PD and offers practical advice for dealing with them and enhancing intimacy.