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2. Set the Mood for Romance and Sex

Feeling relaxed and well rested before sex can help get you in the mood and lead to a better experience for both partners. Find ways to relax and get into the mood before having sex. Or use these ideas to relax together when you want to be close but sex isn’t possible.

  • Unwind in a warm bath or shower -- alone or with your partner. Warm water helps soothe achy joints and can help you feel good.
  • Light candles, play soft music, or try aromatherapy.
  • Read from a favorite book together.
  • Turn down the lights in the bedroom and turn up the heat.
  • Take turns giving one another a gentle massage.

3. Be Creative in Your Intimacy

Learn to explore different ways of being intimate with your partner. “Have fun with sex and explore new ways to be intimate in a loving, pleasurable way,” says Helen Grusd, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles and past president of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association. “Each couple is different, so it’s important to try different things and learn together what works for you.”

If sexual intercourse is painful, focus on foreplay and touching instead. Even if you are able to have intercourse, it’s important to find other ways to be close. “Try new ways of touching and make time for the different sensations that arise,” says Grusd. “Intimate, close touch can be one of the most important ways to connect as a couple. It doesn’t even have to be sexual.”

If lubrication is a problem, try using a water-based lubricant during sex. You can also experiment with different sexual positions to find which are most comfortable. Or use pillows or other supports as needed to help take pressure off painful joints. Don’t be afraid to explore new territory and find what works best for you.

“In my case, certain positions didn’t work because they made me feel dizzy,” says Brown. “So we just experimented until we found other positions that worked better.”

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