CSHP graduate student, Jessica King, took the initiative to create a Facebook support group for wives and partners of stroke survivors after noticing a need. We asked Jessica to speak about her inspiration behind and the importance of the group:
What inspired you to create this group?
“In January of 2022, I started a Facebook group with female identifying wives and partners of Stroke Survivors because I saw a need for a safe space for partners to express their feelings concerning adjustments in their sexual health. I was inspired by my own experience as a stroke survivor’s wife and having my post about sexual wellness deleted on another private caregiving page for inappropriate content. Therefore, my own group, Project SASS (Sex After Stroke Support) was created. This group has continued as a research mission with superior guidance from Dr. Jennifer Piatt, Certified Recreational Therapy Specialist (CTRS). It has developed into an atmosphere of education and guidance, by the women themselves and by the speakers who have or will present to the group. I post daily prompts for conversations to enrich the groups knowledge from research, start discussions, and promote interaction between their partner and themselves. Thus far I have had a Doctor of Physical Therapy present on safe positioning and physical support during sexual encounters. In the coming months we will welcome a Master of Social Work specializing in sex in caregiving relationships, a consultant for Pure Romance, and Dr. Jennifer Piatt CTRS to facilitate a discussion on sexual health and wellness.”
What is your primary goal for the group?
"My goal for the group is to allow a place for safe expression of sexual needs and desires of women who are now suddenly and unexpectedly in a caregiving role. I choose to present opportunities for education on how to navigate this new life with purpose and pleasure. I hope women can utilize information learned in the group to provide sexual pleasure in their lives again."
Why is this important?
"This project is important because these women are challenged with personal care of another person with whom they were once intimate and changing their roles back to a sexual partner is often excruciatingly difficult. Where they once derived pleasure from their partner, now their sexual identity is overlooked, or it often becomes an additional chore. These women are begging to know how to make their life enriched by this information, and they are thirsty for more."
What have you noticed or learned since starting the group?
"When I initially started this group page, it was to simply share feelings on the sexual changes brought by a devastating stroke. However, it has morphed into a place of learning and growing with suggestions, educated speakers, and researched ideas. Since starting, I see the women sharing more of themselves, communicating with me, and offering support to each other. They are appreciative of what is being brought to them daily."
How can interested individuals find or join the group?
"Currently the focus of the group and criteria for joining is female identifying stroke survivors’ wives and partners over the age of 18. The group content is private but can be located under Project SASS (Sex After Stroke Support) on Facebook or by following this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1041470793098875"