Sexual identity and orientation in adult men and women with spina bifida

Konrad M. Szymanski, Devon J. Hensel, John S. Wiener, Benjamin Whittam, Mark P. Cain, Rosalia Misseri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Sexuality has received little attention in spina bifida (SB) care. The aim of this study was to assess sexual identity and orientation in adults with SB. METHODS: An international online survey to adults with SB was administered over 10-months (recruitment: SB clinics, SB organizations via social media). Collected data included demographics, sexual identity and orientation. Non-parametric tests were used for analysis. RESULTS: Median age of 77 men and 119 women was 35 years old (52.0% shunted, 48.5% community ambulators, 42.3% outside United States). Most commonly, men identified as male (96.1%), while 1.3% each described themselves as female, transgender and other. All women reporting sexual identity identified as female (99.2%), 0.8% not providing an answer. Most men reported heterosexual orientation (89.6%), followed by gay (7.8%) and bisexual (2.6%). Most women reported heterosexual orientation (84.9%), followed by bisexual (10.4%), gay/lesbian (2.5%), asexual (0.8%) and other (1.7%). CONCLUSION: As in the general population, sexual identity typically coincides with biological gender. Sexual orientation of adults with SB mirrors the general population. Due to self-selection, these findings likely do not reflect exact prevalence in the SB population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-317
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Adult
  • Neurogenic urinary bladder
  • Sexuality
  • Spinal dysraphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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