Versus Arthritis has found that many couples feel like their relationship is not as intimate as when they first got together. Some of this can be put down to age and length of time the couple has been together, however some couples are in constant pain which has an impact on their sex life. We talk to Tracey Cox about the importance of communication when it comes to sex and pain.
Why do so many people think that cuddling, sleeping in the same bed and good conversation are all key to a good relationship?
Intimacy means different things to different people, and often it’s the little things like holding hands that can make people feel more satisfied and closer. When you feel emotionally connected to your partner, you’re more likely to feel comfortable and relaxed which results in better sexual experiences. For people with joint pain, maintaining an active sex life can be challenging but they still want and need to connect with their partners; cuddling and holding hands are a great way to do this.
Why is talking openly with your partner so important especially when it comes to sex?
Being open with your partner is extremely important as it helps you to understand each other’s wants and desires and helps to develop a deeper connection. When a person with arthritis is having a ‘bad day’ or a ‘flare up’ it’s really important that they feel comfortable letting their partner know, and feel confident that they will understand and support them.
Why do some couples feel that they can’t talk about sex, even if they are experiencing pain?
Sometimes people feel unnecessarily embarrassed to talk about intimacy and sex, fearing their partner’s reaction. For people living with pain, it can be frustrating trying to explain how they are feeling to their partner as pain is invisible. Often people feel guilty that they may not be satisfying their partner as a result of not being able to have sex; this is another reason why it’s so important to talk openly with each other and come up with other solutions to maintain intimacy.
Why is it important to plan in sex if you are living with chronic pain?
Many people living with chronic pain experience good days and bad days so planning ahead is important so you can maximise the days you feel up to it and reduce the impact of pain on your sex life. For example, taking painkillers an hour before sex can make it more comfortable and enjoyable or planning a short nap during the day if you are extremely tired. Versus Arthritis has some other great tips on their website to help people with arthritis and joint pain stay intimacy.
How can showers with your partner help things along?
Some people living with joint pain notice that their joints feel considerably better after a hot shower or bath. Sharing a shower may be an excellent way to set the mood and share an intimate moment with your partner too.