Those dealing with chronic pain often suffer in silence, even as they gradually see their sex life start to degrade. It may be difficult to speak about, primarily because there are particular preconceptions connected to handling chronic pain that many tend to focus on. The fact is that people with persistent discomfort can have a satisfying sex life just like everyone else. It may take a little experimentation in the beginning, but great sex is still possible– and encouraged!
Why Sex Matters More to Chronic Pain Patients
People love sex because, simply put, it feels good. Aside from pleasure, there are other reasons for chronic pain patients to have sex frequently. Psychology Today reports that sex actually reduces the number of pain signals sent to the brain.
In fact, research using fMRI suggests that orgasm blocks or reduces pain levels in women and decreases headache pain. Scientists have also found that sex moderates the relationship between depressive symptoms and back pain. In addition, sex can provide other health benefits that are particularly helpful for those with chronic pain, such as improving sleep and reducing stress.
People have reported these positive effects for years, and now science has had an opportunity to catch up and provide concrete evidence that there is something to what people have observed after sexual activity. Those who experience chronic pain now have a scientific explanation for why they may want sex to relieve some of that discomfort.
How Can Someone With Chronic Pain Enjoy Sex Frequently?
A chronic pain sufferer can still enjoy a healthy sex life if they work with their partner to ensure they’re on the same page and working towards the same goal. The extra levels of communication between the partners will undoubtedly aid with certain aspects of intimacy that not everyone gets to enjoy with their partners. Additionally, it means that you have the opportunity to potentially reach a point where you can speak openly with one another about all matters related to your sexual activities without shame or judgment.
Here are a few ways that you may get to enjoy sex with a partner who experiences chronic pain:
Engage in Foreplay– Long makeout sessions, sexual touching, and other forms of foreplay can all benefit you and your partner when trying to come up with new ways to engage with one another sexually. You can possibly strike a balance between penetrative sex and the kind of activities that might lead to further sex in the future. Sometimes, the things a couple does before engaging in sex can be just as exciting as the sex itself.
Self-Gratification Together– Self-gratification is more manageable for those with chronic pain to engage in because they can access their own body parts more easily while still touching their partner. Many couples say that they enjoy pleasuring themselves with their partner in the room.
Communicate During Sex– Communicate with your partner about what feels good, what may hurt, and what things you want to try as a couple. Communicating during sex is always recommended anyway, and it’s even more important when engaging with a partner who suffers from chronic pain. It’s not their fault that they experience these conditions, and you want to be extra mindful of their needs at all times.
Sex Can Mean Many Things To Many People
When it comes to sex, it’s always best to think outside the box. You may exclude certain activities that you may actually enjoy if you have clearly defined what sex is or should be. The risk is that it means you may eliminate certain opportunities for fulfillment and bonding with a partner.
Healthtalk.org reported that some chronic pain patients were highly concerned that their inability to have intercourse was unfair to their partner, and they worried about how their partner would react. As it turns out, most partners were understanding of the situation and willing to work with a person they love to explore other ways to be intimate.
Some alternative activities that can bring a level of intimacy include:
- Holding hands
- Looking into each other’s eyes
Honestly, essentially any activity that makes the couple feel more bonded together and promotes intimacy is worth pursuing. Individuals can get caught up in societal meanings of particular words or concepts and may not consider what they and their partners actually desire.
If you’re a chronic pain patient and are concerned about how this may impact your sex life, speak with your partner about it. Consult your doctor to see if they have guidance about managing the discomfort and keeping the level of intimacy with your partner that you would prefer. This can put you on the right track towards a more satisfying and healthy sex life.
The reality is that people with chronic pain can have a fulfilling sex life just like everyone else. A chronic pain sufferer can still enjoy a healthy sex life if they work with their partner to ensure they’re on the same page and working towards the same goal. Often, the things a couple does before engaging in sex can be just as exciting as the act itself.
Communicating during sex is always recommended, and it’s even more crucial when engaging with a partner who suffers from chronic pain. If you’re a chronic pain sufferer and are worried about how this may affect your sex life, talk to your partner about it.