Sexuality After Traumatic Brain Injury | Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC)
Hypersexual behaviour is a recognized complication of head injuries which can be a source of great distress to patients and persons with whom these patients share significant relationships. In this article, we describe 5 patients who exhibited aberrant sexual behaviours following traumatic brain injury and discuss the relevant literature. Disorders of sexual function, even though relatively common following traumatic brain injury, have not received commensurate attention in the literature on the complications of head trauma. Sexual problems following injury are usually the result of interaction between the psychological makeup of the injured person, his sociocultural background and the neurological sequelae of the injury itself [ 1 ]. Hypersexuality is a rare but well recognised sequela of brain injury [ 2 ].
We review the human literature examining the effects of neurological insult on human sexual behaviour. We provide a synthesis of the findings to date, and identify key brain regions associated with specific aspects of human sexual behaviour. These include subcortical and cortical regions, with the mesial temporal lobe and the amygdala in particular being a crucial structure in the mediation of human sexual drive. Despite its fundamental role in human life, there has been surprisingly little research into the neurological control of human sexual behaviour.