This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Sexuality and Intimacy After Burn Injury. Dr. Radha Holavanhalli, researcher, discusses why it is important for health care providers to discuss sexuality and intimacy after burn injury.

Radha Holavanahalli, Ph.D.

Co-Principal Investigator

North Texas Burn Rehabilitation Model System

So it’s very important for the professionals to initiate this conversation because it kind of wipes away the fear on the patient’s part. The survivor and the families, they are concerned about it, but they may be kind of nervous to bring it up and they might also think that this is not appropriate.

I might be seen as, you know, someone who is not worried about my more important aspects of recovery, but I’m worried about sex and having intercourse or having an intimate relationship. But it’s not. It helps in the recovery process to go through all the facets of one’s life that can affect one’s quality of life.

So just as we would talk to patients about when they can return to work or when they can return to school or when they can return to normal everyday work, housework or yardwork or whatever it may be that they were doing, this is part of their normal daily life.

Sexuality and intimacy are important in one’s life. It’s not just sex. It’s about the deeper emotional connection that one establishes with another person.

It is important because human beings are basically not meant to live in isolation. We live in companionship. We love one another’s company. And we have - this has been going on for centuries. And that is how we have all evolved, and that is how we are here. And so it is a very important part of one’s life.

And that doesn’t mean to say that if someone is not sexual that there is something wrong with them. It is left to the person. The person has a choice.

So sexuality and intimacy for burn survivors is very, it’s a joyous thing. It’s a happy thing. It’s positive. And I think to bring them — I think we owe it to them because of all that they’ve gone through. I think to do anything to bring that back to them is what we need to do.

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