From Spinal Cord Injury To Sex Doctor
Thanks for taking a moment to learn a little bit about my journey. I’m Dr. Mitchell Tepper. And I’m an AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator and Counselor dedicated to helping people with disabilities and health professionals grasp the full potential of sexual response and expression post-injury or illness. My sexual consultations and strategies are based on more than 30 years of personal and professional experience.
are designed to end the taboo surrounding sex and disabilities.
Persons with a disability are equipped with the confidence, resources, and techniques needed to rediscover a fulfilling intimate life. Health professionals walk away from my sessions feeling educated and empowered to implement innovative procedures in their practice.
But I’ve had to overcome many personal challenges before arriving at this place of sexual confidence.
Diving Head First Into The Field Of Human Sexuality
After breaking my neck in a diving accident, many concerns surrounding love, intimacy, and sexual function were paramount.
Can I still have children?
was the first question I asked the doctor when he removed my intubation tube.
All he said was that my chances were less than 10%.
- He didn’t share any information about my sexual function or response
- There was no discussion about my potential for intimate relationships
- No additional resources were offered
This close-ended response forced me to figure things out on my own. My sexual self-discovery lead me to read as many books on sexuality as I could consume. I even sought sexual experiences in hopes of better understanding my sexual potential. Engaging in such hands on research and experimentation helped pave the way for my future calling.
After a year of physical rehabilitation, I grabbed life by the horns. Completing my degree in finance was the first step. It was also during that time that I met the love of my life. Our thriving relationship was confirmation that true love and intimacy existed post-spinal cord injury. So, after only five months of dating, I asked her to be my wife.
Mission Over Money
My finance degree landed me a job in banking which presented a promising career. But it wasn’t in alignment with my passion. With my wife’s support, I did the unthinkable. I walked away from a budding career to answer an internal calling.
It all began with earning a Master’s degree in Public Health from Yale University. I focused my research efforts on the delivery of sexuality education and counseling in spinal cord injury rehabilitation programs. What I discovered confirmed my suspicions.
My research revealed that the vast majority of people with spinal cord injury weren’t receiving adequate support for their sexual health. I knew something had to be done to rewrite this narrative. This urged me to continue my studies. Acquiring my PhD in Human Sexuality Education from the University of Pennsylvania set the stage for the next chapter of my life.
The Sexual Health Network Bridged The Gap
Years of research enabled me to uncover the lack of intimate support that was looming amongst the disability community. But developing a viable solution was a different story. There was no defined career path for someone in my shoes. That’s what prompted me to launch The Sexual Health Network in 1996.
This revolutionary platform became an on and off line hub for individuals searching for answers about sexuality and disability. The impact reached millions of people with all types of disabilities and chronic conditions. Even the general population caught on. They were intrigued by the creative techniques that were being taught. Most of them had never heard of sensate focus, tantra, or the energetic focused model of sex. This caused them to develop an appetite for the diverse sexuality education they never received in school.
Years later I gave an in-depth account of my groundbreaking research on spinal cord injury and orgasms in my book, “Regain That Feeling: Secrets to Sexual Self-Discovery.”
The topics covered have helped those with and without a disability to access energetic orgasms. I’m proud to say that I’m internationally recognized for my research on pleasure and orgasms experienced by individuals with spinal cord injury.
Discovering Pleasure And Connectedness In Relationships
Contrary to popular belief, satisfying sex doesn’t derive only from the genitals. Trust, safety, and connectedness are the pillars of deep intimacy.
Consistent great sex is the result of the bond you build with your partner. Feeling safe and secure allows emotional walls to come tumbling down – giving you the freedom to express your authentic eroticism. This is when the most euphoric sex can be experienced.
My Accessing Intimacy coaching sessions provides step-by-step guidance to help clients and their partners put these techniques into practice.
Where I Am Now
Life is pretty good. My wife and I have been married for 31 years now. Thankfully, I defied those less than 10% odds of having a child. Our 20-year-old son is attending college. And we couldn’t be prouder of him. Cheryl and I enjoy traveling, dining out, and lounging around our cozy home in Atlanta. I truly couldn’t ask for a better life.
Now I Extend Myself To You
Thirty-five years ago I had to explore the world of intimacy and disability alone. But it doesn’t have to be that way for you. I’ve already put in all the hard work so you don’t have to. Take advantage of my more than 30 years of knowledge and expertise while you can.
If you are ready to discover deep intimacy and satisfying sex, I’m here to help.
Schedule a free 30-minute consultation to learn how you can start creating a satisfying sexual life today.
If you are searching for best practices and resources when discussing sexual health care with patients with a disability, I’m here to support you.
Schedule a free 30-minute Sexual Health Care Session
To start developing your comprehensive road map.
TSHN was founded in 1996 by Dr. Mitchell Tepper, who suffered a spinal cord injury in 1982. At the time, it was extremely difficult for most people – especially people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or age-related physical changes – to access sexual health care from traditional sources. Healthcare professionals rarely received sexuality-related training and were often uncomfortable discussing sexual issues, so tended to ignore their patients’ sexual health concerns. This silence caused tremendous, unnecessary suffering. Dr. Tepper recognized that the World Wide Web was a means of meeting the need for high-quality, reputable sexuality information and education for both the professional and the consumer markets.
The Sexual Health Network exists to end the silence and suffering by:
- Making general and disability and/or illness specific sexual health information available at the click of a mouse;
- Providing easy access to credentialed health professionals who are committed to sexual health, who are here to listen, who understand and have sufficient knowledge and resources to deal with complex problems of human sexuality, and who can inform and offer advice regarding sexual health and sexual problems one-to-one and in groups;
- Providing forums for objective discussions of sexual matters among peers;
- Training health service personnel in sexual health;
- Providing guidance in the selection of high quality sexual health related products.
To facilitate the company’s mission, TSHN launched one of the earliest online sexual health information websites, Sexualhealth.com, in 1996.
This site is distinguished not only by its longevity, but also by its emphasis on addressing the special sexual health concerns of individuals who have chronic conditions and disabilities including spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, and cancer. It publishes articles and answers to user questions written by experts in the field of sexual health.
In November 2010, SexualHealth.com was sold to Analyte Health with the intention of Analyte Health building a telemedicine/telehealth platform to extend services from strictly information and referal to the practice of medicine. Currently the SexualHealth.com is offering medical care on demand for STDs.
TSHN draws upon the expertise of an international network of more than 60 experts who work in a variety of settings to develop online and other content that reflects the company’s commitment to a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to sexual health. Many of these experts contributed to the four-volume reference set, Sexual Health, edited by Drs. Tepper and Owens that was published in 2007.
History of Federal Funding
In 2004, TSHN received a Phase I SBIR grant to develop a Sexual Health Therapeutic Learning Tool (SHTLP). A proof of concept in the form of a working prototype was achieved. The prototype was redesigned after preliminary usability data in Phase I and the results of an NIH-funded technology niche analysis suggested that commercial success would require development of a more robust tool. This redesign resulted in an electronic health and relationship tool (eHART) that uses branching logic and algorithms to provide tailored sexual health information, education, and guidance.
TSHN’s plan calls for the development of its domain, SexualHealthNetwork.com, as an e-Health platform through which consumers, healthcare professionals, schools, universities, government agencies, and corporations can participate in a web-based community and access sexuality-related information and products, including courses and seminars, as well as online educational, counseling (“e-counseling”) and professional consultation services. Once eHART is commercialized, TSHN will be positioned to operate with a positive cash flow and move forward with its planned e-counseling and e-learning initiatives.