A chronic illness is a health condition that can last a lifetime with no specific cure, but only maintenance of medications to keep your health at bay. Chronic illnesses include diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, lupus, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, hypertension and a lot more.
Having a chronic illness brings major changes to one’s life. Physically, you’ll experience pain, trouble sleeping, changing appetite, weight loss or gain, and it can limit your movements.
Psychologically, you’ll feel depressed, anxious and irritable due to the fact that you’re ill and experiencing discomfort. Not to exclude the financial implications it entails.
As a result, you become less interested in doing the things you used to enjoy, including sex. You may completely lose sexual desire, or the sensations of pleasure may lessen. If you have a chronic illness, but still want to stay sexually active, follow these nine ways to keep your illness from destroying your sex life:
1. Communicate Regularly
Communication is important, even in healthy relationships, and so much more if you are going through a rough time when there is no solid solution.
State your needs. Tell your partner how you want to them to be take care of you. He can’t read your mind,so he won’t know unless you tell him.
When having the conversation, don’t make it all about you. Just like you, your partner is also having a hard time. Although he has to put much of his efforts toward helping you due to your condition, he also has needs. Let your partner talk, and then maybe you can find a way that works well for both of you.
Another thing, a lack of communication can make you emotionally disconnected from each other, which can also affect your intimacy. Apart from discussing your condition, talk about other things which can bring you closer to each other.
2. Deal With The Changes
Suffering from a chronic disease brings a lot of changes that can prevent you from doing the things you use to do in bed. You may need to make little changes to your routine sex, or you may have to try new things.
Think out of the box. Then, sort out what works and what doesn’t from what feels good and what doesn’t. If something works and feels good, find ways to make it even better.
The process of learning new things in order for you both to deal with the changes won’t be easy. Take your time and be patient. You’ll get there.
3. Find A Perfect Opportunity
Take advantage of the time of day when pain bothers you the least. Whether it’s early morning, evening or afternoon, get busy with your partner when you are both in the mood and have fully rested. If you need a pain reliever, take it 30 minutes before having sex.
Don’t let distractions keep you from making the most out of this opportunity. If you let other things get in the way, you will have to wait for the next time when you are feeling better to have sex.
4. Schedule Sex
Lack of time, exhausted energy, and unstable emotions can get in the way of staying sexually active. Instead of focusing on the quantity of sex, focus on the quality of sex. Schedule sex once in a week or two weeks and make it worthwhile. Before the scheduled day and time, take a rest, relax and avoid stressors.
5. Let Your Partner Know If You Are In Pain
No matter how you want to stay sexually active during your illness, there will be times when your body and mind just won’t cooperate. Let your partner know how you feel and make him understand why you feel that way.
It’s also important to take his sexual needs into consideration. While you may be feeling void when it comes to sex, your partner is having a hard time dealing with his interest in having sex. Ask him how you can help with his needs, but if you really can’t, you don’t have to force yourself.
6. Find Other Ways To Get Intimate
Sex should not only be about intercourse. Even when you have no plans of having a sexual intercourse, get intimate with your partner. You can kiss, hug, hold hands or just lie in bed close to each other. Touch your partner, and let him touch you.
Allow the magic of touch to bring you closer. It can do wonders to keep the romance alive.
7. Be Aware Of Your Partner’s Health
Although your partner is your caregiver, you still have to be aware of his physical and emotional health.
Stress, fatigue and lack of sleep can greatly affect his health and sex drive. If you can go without a caregiver, let him rest or relax and do things he enjoys, such as sports.
If you really have to have someone look after you, hire a caregiver once or twice a week. You can also ask a friend or family to pitch in – after all, you need to socialize, too.
If your partner is starting to show symptoms of a breakdown, such as depression, irritability, loss of appetite, reduced weight, insomnia or isolation from people close to them, urge them to seek help.
8. Get Creative In The Bedroom
Some chronic illnesses like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes can cause vaginal dryness, which makes sexual intercourse extremely uncomfortable and painful.
Keep a lubricant within reach, so when the time calls for it, you can have sex without worrying about painful penetration.
If the pain is keeping you from enjoying sex like you used to, try stacking a pillow under your hips. Satin sheets can also make your movements easier. If you fear a smell may leak from your colostomy bag, empty it before having sex, and apply lavender essence. You can also put lavender on your sheets, or under your and your partner’s noses.
9. Talk To Your Doctor
Most medications can suppress desire. If you feel your medicines have a lot to do with your dwindling sex life, talk to your doctor about your concerns.
Maybe your doctor can find an alternative prescription with less sexual side effects or he may have some recommendations that can help.
Chronic illness can directly affect your sex life, but with these nine ways and your will to stay sexually active, you can keep chronic illness from destroying your sex life.