By: Stephanie Tuminello
With Valentine’s Day just passed it seemed as though all the world was full of reds and pinks and candy hearts. All this emphasis on love and relationships can be hard enough to deal with as is, but becomes significantly more difficult for those suffering from conditions like epilepsy and the stigma associated with it.
The history of epilepsy in terms of love, sex and marriage in the United States is both shocking and appalling. Up until as late as 1980 there were states which prohibited people with epilepsy from marrying. Worse still, until 1958 there were 18 states that legally allowed for eugenic sterilization of people with epilepsy.
Nowadays, things are better but can still be challenging. This is mostly due to misconceptions and misinformation. Despite overwhelming belief to the contrary, people with epilepsy can enjoy normal relationships and have normal sex lives.There has yet to be any concrete evidence that epileptic episodes are triggered by sex. Even though there is some statistical evidence that impotence and lower libido are more common in epilepsy patients, this is still not the majority of cases.
Men with epilepsy are just as likely as other men to have healthy children. Most epileptic women can have healthy offspring as well, though some antiepileptic drugs have been associated with birth defects. Still, though fertility is decreased in some epileptic men and women, this does not mean that children are not possible, and in fact many with epilepsy go on to have healthy, happy families.In the end, people with epilepsy are just as entitled to love and happiness as anyone else, and stigma alone seems to prevent this. If you find yourself in such a relationship, either as the person with the condition or the partner, the best course of action is an open, honest discussion. Because real, intimate love is patient, selfless, and never judgmental.