"Sexual Healing" time

Having MS can bring some changes to your sex life. There are two ways to deal with this - to back away from sex, or to face the sexual challenges of MS and find a "new normal" that will give you and your partner the satisfaction you need.

Just because you have MS, it doesn't mean that your sexual desires will go away or become inappropriate. In fact, keeping up a good sex life can help your overall well-being. Here are some ideas for coping with the sex-related challenges posed by MS.

Manage the physical problems. If physical symptoms such as trouble getting an erection, vaginal dryness, and bowel or bladder problems are getting in the way of your sex life, talk to your doctor. There are ways to manage these physical symptoms so they are less intrusive to your sex life. For example:

  • medications or vacuum pumps for men with trouble getting an erection
  • water-based lubricants for women suffering from vaginal dryness
  • Kegel exercises for women having trouble achieving an orgasm
  • using treatments for bladder problems (such as medications or self-catheterization) before sexual activity

Communicate with your partner. It's natural to feel a bit embarrassed talking about MS and sex with your partner. But getting over your embarrassment will help you enjoy a better sex life. It can also bring you closer together.

Set aside a time to talk to your partner about how MS is affecting your sex life. If you're having trouble saying the words, you may find it easier to write down your feelings in a letter for your partner as a way to start the conversation. You may be surprised at what you learn. The partner without MS may have been blaming themselves for the changes in your sex life, and not realize how much of a role MS has played. Talking openly about the changes in your sex life can help you get started on finding creative solutions together.

If you're having trouble talking about these issues with your partner, you may want to consider getting help from a qualified counsellor.

Be creative. Stay open and adaptable to new ideas. This may involve having to tape catheters out of the way, using vibrators to aid stimulation, or using medications or vacuum tubes to help achieve erection. Don't shy away from new ideas... you may find they work and like it!

You and your partner may need to do some thinking about what sex and intimacy means to you, and what you'll need to have a satisfying sex life. Even simple changes to your routine can go a long way. For example, if fatigue is an issue, choose a time for sex when you are at your highest energy level. For many people, this is in the morning or early afternoon. You can also try to raise your energy level using moderate exercise and healthy eating. As well, you can experiment with sexual activities that don't require as much mobility or exertion.

To help increase your level of desire, think about what makes you feel sexy. Do the things that "turn you on," and tell your partner about them. Experiment with and talk to your partner to find what works for you as a couple. Rediscover the fun of flirting - you may need more than before to get to the same level of desire. If lack of desire is still a problem, speak to your doctor or health care provider.

When you experiment, some things will work better than others. Keep the lines of communication open, and try to maintain a sense of humour as you find new ways to enjoy intimacy.

It's normal to feel a sense of anger or loss because of the sexual effects of MS. However, there are many different ways to get sexual pleasure other than the ones you may be used to. By communicating openly and honestly with your partner and health professional, you can find a new ways to have a great sex life!

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: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Lets-talk-about-sex-baby