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Even when someone apparently loses all the physical sensation in their genital regions, couples can still achieve sexual closeness, pleasure, and even orgasm.
Whipple notes that a nerve bundle called the sensory vagus bypasses the spinal cord, carrying nerve impulses directly from the genitals to the brain.
So even if the spinal cord is damaged, "pleasure" messages can be carried through the sensory vagus from the genitals to the brain, triggering the experience of orgasm.
But even if you can't experience "traditional" orgasm, that doesn't mean your sex life is over.
"Acceptance means letting go of all your old notions, like 'sex equals intercourse.' Comparison is something that really kills people in moving forward," Tepper says.