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3. Try Creative and Comfortable Positions continued...

Try to talk openly with your partner about what positions feel good and what hurts. If talking is too difficult, write each other notes about what you’d like to try. Or use your hands and eyes to guide the way. “There are many tasteful books that can help you find different positions that might work for you,” says Resh. Looking through a book together can be an exciting way to broach the topic.

You can also experiment with new ways to touch. For example, if your hands are affected by arthritis, try touching your partner lightly with the back of your hand, or use a feather or scarf.

If your joints are especially painful or difficult to move, pillows or other props can help provide support. And sexual enhancement tools, such as vibrators and lubricants, can also play a role in having enjoyable sex with your partner. “Vibrators can be very helpful for those who have arthritis in the hands,” says Resh. “And it can be exciting to play with these tools together.”

4. Explore New Ways to Connect

It’s important to remember that intimacy is not just about intercourse or having an orgasm. “The most important part of sex is the skin-to-skin and soul-to-soul contact with your partner, and your willingness to connect on an intimate level with that person,” says Resh. “Giving someone your undivided attention is one of the sexiest things you can do.”

If intercourse isn’t possible, explore other ways of being intimate. “Your sexual relationship doesn’t need to end just because intercourse does,” says Resh. “Look for other ways to connect physically, and take your time and have fun with it. For example, a lot of long-term couples stop making out after many years together,” says Resh. “Resurrecting that may be exciting.”

Another idea is to use massage as a form of foreplay. “Ask your partner to give you a massage or rub the areas of your body that hurt,” says Resh. “This can be a great way to start touching.”

5. Accept Change in Your Body and Your Relationship

Just as our bodies change, so does our sexuality. “Sexuality isn’t static,” says Resh. “Our sexuality evolves just as we do.” This might mean that what you enjoyed when you were younger or when you didn’t have arthritis might not be possible anymore. But this doesn’t have to be a negative. Making changes in your sex life can be exciting and new. “We need to look for ways to continue to feel sexually vital as we age,” says Resh. “This is true for everyone, whether you have a chronic illness such as arthritis or not.”

Try to be patient with yourself and your partner as you explore different approaches to sex and intimacy. It may take some time to learn what feels good for both of you. 

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