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COPD and Sex

9 tips for better sex and intimacy when you have COPD.
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7. Don’t be Afraid to Experiment

Try different sexual positions to find which ones work best for you and your partner. In general, positions that put pressure on the chest of the partner with COPD are more troublesome than side-by-side (face-to-face and front-to-back) or seated positions.

“For a man with COPD, the missionary position is probably worst,” says Sandhaus. Maybe it would help to use pillows to prop yourself up, or prop up your partner. Maybe it would be better to forgo the bed and have sex in a chair.

Also, try different sexual techniques and aids. “It’s important for people to try things, even if they were reluctant to try them before,” says Goodell. “It can be really beneficial to think of different ways of expressing sexuality that they have done or haven’t done in many years.”

8. Take a Break

If at any point during sex the partner with COPD starts to feel breathless, he/she should slow down or pause to rest -- though there’s no need to stop giving and receiving caresses during the lull in the action.

Keep in mind that it’s normal to experience some shortness of breath during sex. Says Rogers, “People get concerned about shortness of breath, but shortness of breath during sex is no more dangerous than the shortness of breath they experience when doing everyday activities.”

9. Remember Your Goal

Good sex isn’t just about giving and receiving orgasms. It’s about intimacy. “The goal [for COPD patients and their partners] should be to have the most intimate experience that they can manage,” says Sandhaus. “Sometimes that means coming to orgasm, and sometimes not.”

Sometimes, simply lying together and cuddling are all that someone with COPD can manage -- and that may be enough to satisfy both partners. As Goodell puts it, “Running your hands through your partner’s hair can be an intimate act.”

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Reviewed on November 09, 2010
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Managing COPD: Have you quit smoking?