Podcast Episode 63: Navigating Sexuality and Intimacy with PD

Sexuality and intimacy can greatly add to quality of life at all adult ages. Sexuality is much more than just physical sexual functioning. It encompasses self-image, attraction to others, and a broad spectrum of emotional components. Certain complex problems may arise for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), including motor and non-motor symptoms, sexual functioning, diminished pleasure, and changes in relationship dynamics because of PD symptoms or drugs used to treat it. Problems such as under-sexuality or over-sexuality may also occur with PD. These problems need to be recognized and evaluated clinically by someone on the Parkinson’s care team, which may be a neurologist, nurse, physical or occupational therapist, social worker or a sex therapist who is familiar with the disease.

Decades of clinical experience in movement disorders clinics as well as published research has led to practical approaches to these problems. Based on the longstanding relationship with their patients over the course of the disease, clinicians are in a good position to establish rapport with patients and care partners to educate them about potential sexual problems and help them directly or refer them as needs arise. In this podcast, Gila Bronner, director of sex therapy services at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel and a Certified sex therapist and researcher at the Movement Disorders Institute at the medical center, talks about some of the sexual problems one may encounter with PD and offers practical advice for dealing with them and enhancing intimacy.

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About This Episode

Released: September 10, 2019

Gila Bronner, MPH, MSW, CST  

Gila Bronner is a senior sex therapist at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel. Gila founded a Sex Therapy Service and a Sex Therapy Training Program (for physicians, psychologists and social workers), and works as a sex counselor and researcher at the Movement Disorders Institute.

She is a guest teacher at the Tel-Aviv University Faculty of Medicine and part of the guest faculty for the Parkinson’s Foundation Allied Team Training for Parkinson’s (ATTP®) program.

Gila specializes in dealing with sexual problems associated with life span changes (adolescence, pregnancy, birth, menopause, old age) and with the effects of new technologies, social media and porno on sexuality of young people.

She holds a Masters in Community Medicine (MPH) from the School of Public Health at the Hebrew University (Jerusalem) and a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from Yeshiva University (New York).

As a world expert in sexual rehabilitation of neurological disorders she is invited to teach health professionals (HP) in Israel and all around the globe. She trains HP to cope with sexual issues in psychiatry, oncology, gerontology and cardiology. She provides guidance in Israeli psychogeriatric institutes, especially regarding inappropriate sexual behavior in demented patients.

Gila has published scientific articles and chapters in 4 medical textbooks, studies in medical journals, sex education books for adolescents, columns in the media, as well as TV and internet interviews.

She has and is volunteering extensively: World Congress of Parkinson's disease (committee member), Israeli Association of Sex Therapists (chair), Israeli Family Planning Association (board member), European Parkinson's disease Association (board member), Movement Disorders Society (HP committee).

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