The pleasure principle can be hard to find after a spinal cord injury. While some with spinal cord injuries still have sensation of their lower extremities (a little factoid many don’t know), there are still many that cannot; and I’m in that camp. When you have extremely decreased sensation in your body, it becomes a scavenger hunt finding a new place that gives you pleasure.
In the past I have written about mental orgasms, and I still believe they exist. It can just be very difficult to get into the right frame of mind in order for them to happen. How do you get away from feeling sad about the loss of sensation while in the act? Many just can’t do it, which brings me to the head. No, not that head silly. That 10 pound bulbous object sitting on your shoulders right now.
Not many people realize just how full the head is of nerve-endings. The scalp has millions of nerve endings and they’re not always fully taken advantage of. Not many people know what a treasure trove it can be. The good news is that to many of you reading this with SCI, this is old news. Many people with SCI figure out that their head is a great go-to place right away.
One of my colleagues (who unfortunately passed away), Jeff Shannon (a writer for New Mobility Magazine for several years and movie critic) who was a quadriplegic, often wrote about how much he loved putting his head under a hot shower, sometimes even for up to 1/2 hour. It was his pleasure principle. This was his happy place when it came to physical pleasure.
The head can be explored in other ways. A hot shower is a great method, but I recently discovered just how effective wire scalp massagers are in reaching those nerve-endings all over the head. You get less wet this way too. I remember in high school these were all the rage, being sold at malls and the like, but then they stopped being so prominent. I am so grateful for my Amazon prime membership for reminding me these sweet little babies exist.
All you need to do is place the massager on top of your head and press down, and the wires press open, enveloping the head with little prongs that feel like an angel’s fingertips. It’s amazing when you first try it. Like whoa-why-did-I-wait-so-long amazing. If you’re having a stressful day and need to relax, this will help. If you just want to feel some pleasure if you’re plagued with neuropathic pain, this will help. If you’re in need of some kind of release of the physical kind, this will help.
Fight as we may try, we still exist in bodies that are carbon-based and respond to physical pleasure, even after a spinal cord injury. Trying to forget the need for pleasure is not the right response after a spinal cord injury, you just have to get creative to still get there. And I believe all of us still can.
The head may seem like a weird place to focus on, but when it’s all that you got…? It’s really not a bad consolation prize. Temple massages after all have been around for centuries for a reason – they work. I will even admit to something I even do regarding my head that’s a bit odd – I put my electric blanket over my head. It just feels that more heightened. I am the girl with the electric blanket over her head and I love every minute of it, even if I look like a weirdo.
It can be hard living with paralysis. There are so many aches and pains from chronic back problems to bladder infections, so when there is something sitting right in front of you, or on you – your head – and you haven’t taken advantage of it? You better get on it. I guarantee if you haven’t figured out how great the head can be yet, you’ll be thrilled. And don’t worry, you can thank me later.
What methods do you use for taking advantage of your glorious nerve-ending-filled head?