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Don't Let the Pain of Arthritis Come Between You and the Joy of Sex!

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When you are ready for a night of passion and romance with your partner, the last thing you want to ruin the mood is the pain associated with arthritis. That can quickly put a damper on the evening….or lazy weekend afternoon! When you are struggling with the pain and stiffness of arthritis, sex is probably one of the last things on your mind. The proverbial excuse of “Not tonight, honey, I have a headache,” has been replaced with the burden of joint pain and the unpleasant side effects that are triggered by arthritis medications. Even though you realize your partner loves you unconditionally, you may simply feel like a bloated, dried out mess with no energy and certainly lacking in unbridled desire to hop in the sack and make hay! If anything, you just want to lie on the bed and not move at all.

As you know by now, joint pain and inflammation make even the simplest of activities, such as standing up or sitting down, quite the challenge. The mere thought of the various physical positions often required by the act of intimacy may bring tears to your eyes. Not only are you experiencing vaginal dryness, fatigue, and reduced sensation due to poor blood flow, but you are most likely dealing with the emotional burdens of depression, stress, and anxiety. You may feel less attractive and the only way you are going to get into that bed is with the lights out and in your bathrobe, and all you want to do is cover up and go to sleep. Romance will have to take a back seat for a while…or will it?

Don’t let arthritis come between you and your partner! You just need to reclaim your desire and your excitement. All you need is a few helpful tools to get you going, and before you know it, you’ll be saying “yes, yes, yes” far more times than “not tonight, honey.”

First of all, be sure to openly discuss your feelings with your partner. He might not even be aware of what is going through your mind. Talk about your fears, your concerns, and why you have a lack of interest. The last thing you want is for him to think you have lost interest in him, as that’s (hopefully!) not the case. Share with him the challenges you face, such as painful intercourse or the inability to become fully aroused. Be daring and suggest new positions that might make sex less painful for you.

While sex is usually more exciting when spontaneous and unannounced, by planning ahead, you can still savor the moment. Be sure to take your medication far enough in advance so that your pain will not be an issue. Take a brief nap earlier in the day so you have more energy for dancing in the sheets later that night. Plan to enjoy frolicking at the time of day when you feel your best. Who says it has to be at night? If you feel great at 2 p.m., then mark your calendar and roll with it!

Heat things up before you get behind closed doors. Take a hot shower or soak in a warm tub. Apply a heating pad to stiff joints to enable them to move better.
Don’t forget the massage! This hands-on approach will not only alleviate stiffness in your joints, but the skin on skin contact between you and your partner makes for wonderful foreplay.

If the usual positions of sex prove to be painful for you, try something new. Use a pillow for support. Who knows? You may find a new position that is even more satisfying than those with which you have become all-too familiar.
Sex doesn’t have to be made of the stuff of which X-rated movies are born.

Release any and all expectations to reduce anxiety and just go with the flow. Take extra time to hug, cuddle, kiss, and caress.

When you and your partner work together in this matter, sex will most likely become more of a pleasurable joint decision, rather than a decision of stiff joints that keeps you from one of life’s true pleasures.

(Information for this article was found at http://arthritis.about.com/od/sex/Sex_And_Arthritis_Sexuality_Intimacy_Arthritis_And_Love_Dating.htm and at http://www.everydayhealth.com/arthritis/sex-and-arthritis.aspx)

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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