Sex and Chronic Health Problems
People living with a chronic health condition often wonder if they can or should be having sex. Whatever your issue, medical experts agree, regular sexual activity is important. Regular sexual activity improves circulation. It relieves stress. Most people report sleeping better and more soundly after intercourse. Last but not least, sex is a well- documented if short term method for relieving pain.
Despite you (or your partner) living with a chronic condition, you can still enjoy and make love. Before engaging in any serious physical activity, however, ask your doctor if there are any limitations. Only your doctor can tell you, for example, if your heart is strong enough for sex. Also. because some medications don’t mix well with alcohol, discuss with your health care provider the do’s and don’ts of your prescription drugs.
The right position helps
Say you have a back or hip problem or sciatica; you might want to experiment with various sexual positions to discover what feels best. Luckily there are several sexual positions to experiment with. Try lying on your back, or on your side. There’s the woman on top position, as well as sitting, standing, or “caught from behind. ” Some people find an advanced spooning position to be the most comfortable position to have sex. Remember that nobody expects you to be an acrobat, or to swing from a chandelier.
Don’t be afraid to use pillows as props
There’s a reason for having extra pillows on the bed. Pillows are extremely useful for positioning your body and to help gain leverage. Tucking a pillow under your hips not only raises the pelvis, it relieves pressure on the spine. Strategically placed pillows can also help your partner gain a better angle to achieve deeper penetration.
Can’t have intercourse? Try masturbation or oral sex.
Not everyone (or their partner) can have penetration sex. Sadly, many commonly prescribed medications are known to be libido depressors, or have erectile dysfunction as a side effect. When penetration is not an option, turn to oral sex. Many women prefer being the recipient of oral sex anyway as the majority of women say their orgasms are clitoris-based. Supreme satisfaction can be achieved with a finger or a tongue. Another option is masturbation, as well as mutual masturbation. You may be surprised to learn how many men fantasize having their female partner pleasure herself in front of them.
When intercourse or even orgasm is not an option, don’t rule out cuddling. Simply lying in bed under the covers naked and next to each other is still very loving. Pillow talk, remember, is the language of lovers. Remember that as long as you and your partner are intimate and together, it’s romantic and bonding.
Tips for getting in the mood
Read or listen to erotica. It may take some experimenting, but guaranteed, there’s an erotic movie or steamy novel you can get into. If your doctor says it’s ok for you to indulge in alcohol in moderation, have a glass of wine to loosen up. And if you live in a legal marijuana state, you might consider experimenting with that, too.
What if you don’t have a partner to have sex with?
A woman with a chronic immunodeficiency condition tells me she hasn’t had a partner in nearly a decade. She’s also well into menopause. “ I masturbate regularly,” she said. “But am starting a new bioidentical hormone protocol soon and I feel optimistic. I will find a sympathetic and willing partner, and soon I will be having sex.”
Eve Marx is a “sexpert,” and author of 101 Things You Didn’t Know About Sex, and The Goddess Orgasm. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and pets.