Lover or caregiver?

If your partner has MS, you may be acting as their caregiver. Being both a lover and a caregiver can be a challenge, and may cause some changes in your sex life and relationship with your partner:

  • You may stop thinking about your partner in a sexual way.
  • You may feel guilty about wanting to have sex with your partner because of their MS, especially if they cannot function on their own and depend on you for their care.
  • You may feel grief, anxiety, or depression as your partner becomes ill, and this may dampen your interest in sex.
  • The stress and demands of caregiving may make you feel too tired and drained for sex.
  • You and your partner will need to adapt to your partner's changing abilities, body image, and interest in sex. This can be a challenge in our society, which still doesn't provide enough "sexy" role models with disabilities.

MS presents some real challenges to your sex life and relationship, but there are many things you and your partner can do to overcome them.

Take some time to care for yourself. Being a caregiver is tiring and stressful, and you deserve a break now and then. Ask family and friends for help, or talk to your MS society about respite care. Giving yourself some "recovery time" can help improve your energy and prevent you from feeling resentful of your partner.

Talk to your partner. If you find that MS is putting a strain on your relationship or sex life, have an honest conversation with your partner about how you are feeling and how you can work together to develop a "new normal" sexual relationship that will be satisfying to you both.

Develop specific signals or rituals that separate sex from caregiving. This will help you balance your two roles as lover and caregiver.

Join a support group for partner/caregivers of people with MS. You can meet new people, share your experiences, and learn from the experiences of others.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: