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Sex can be sweat inducing in the best of ways, but when you think about sex and your Multiple Sclerosis (MS), you might find that you’re sweating for all the wrong reasons, namely stress. You want to have sex, you want to keep your partner satisfied, but you also might feel like your MS wants you to be celibate for the rest of your life based on the not-so-sexy symptoms it throws your way.
So many articles out there provide elaborate advice, suggesting that in lieu of sex, you should arrange a romantic picnic. Sure, let’s make love by staring into our partner’s eyes for three hours ... when our vaginal walls are drier than the Sahara! How about not! For those of us looking for a little more action than that, let’s get honest (as if we haven’t already!) and talk about sex and the sclerosis.
But I’m exhausted!
Fair enough. Fatigue is a major symptom of MS, and can make your desire to have sex fade about as quickly as those expensive jeans you just bought. How do you keep your sex life vibrant when your energy wanes? The unfortunate truth is that intercourse may have to be scheduled during times of day when you feel most rested. Yes, we’re aware that sex, in its ideal form, is spontaneous. But we’re pretty sure your partner would agree that any sex is better than no sex! Try mornings, when you often have the most energy. Plus a good morning romp session is always a nice way to start the day1.
Having sex with spasticity!
Ok, ok, we know! Spasticity can be a painful barrier to a satisfying sex life for a person living with MS. Leg and foot spasms mid-intercourse can be painful and downright embarrassing. How about getting a little experimental by trying some new positions? Certain positions may alleviate your spasticity, and you’ll never know until you try! Plus, we can’t imagine your partner would mind experimenting. And it can’t hurt to start off by relaxing your muscles. Asking your partner for a massage is a great way to relax your body and get in the mood. We’re almost sure your partner will oblige such a request. If not, we suggest throwing them out2.
Not just sex, but good sex
You may not like to talk about it, but a common symptom of MS is difficulty achieving an orgasm. Not to get too scientific here, but sexual arousal begins in the central nervous system where the brain sends messages to the sexual organs along the nerve pathways. Lucky for us, MS can change these pathways and make it harder (not literally speaking!) for the sexual messages to be sent where they need to go. Thanks MS, appreciate that one.
But achieving an orgasm isn’t impossible, and there are loads of things you can do to try and make the most of sex. Fair warning: we’re ready to talk lube and sex toys. Blushing may ensue1.
As they say about libido, if you don’t use it, you lose it. If you’re a woman with MS who wants to have sex but faces the dry vaginal issue, try a lot of lubrication. Buy a few bottles and be generous. You can never have too much, right?
Using sex toys is another great way to take control of your sex life and find things that feel good for you and your partner. According to the National MS Society in the United States, “both men and women with MS and their partners can benefit from instruction in alternative means of sexual stimulation, such as the use of a vibrator, to overcome slow arousal and impaired sensation.” Hey, they said it, not us!
Have the Difficult Conversations
There are loads of uncomfortable and quite frankly embarrassing elements of sex with MS. But having open and honest conversations with your partner can only make things better. It may not seem incredibly arousing in the context of a blog post, but telling your partner what you need, what you’re afraid of, and what you want can make sex better for both of you.
Often times our insecurities are just that…they’re ours. They reflect how we feel about ourselves, but do they always reflect how others feel about us? Not necessarily! Remember John Slattery’s character in the Sex and the City episode, “Politically Erect?” Honesty about your condition will help you filter out the most judgmental of the bunch3.
The Bottom Line: Don’t Give Up!
If sex is an important part of your life, leaving it behind is not a solution. Did your parents or teachers in grade school ever try this one on you? “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” Well, they probably never imagined that phrase being used in this context, but it couldn’t be more true. Keep trying, keep communicating and keep searching for what works for you.
And with that, we hope this post motivated you to try for a fun night this week!
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