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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.”

4. Make Time for Sex

It may seem strange to schedule a time for sex. But when you have lupus, choosing the right time for sex can be crucial.

“You want to choose a time when you have the energy and you don’t have any other distractions,” says Jolly. “I often suggest that couples plan ahead for sex and put it in their schedule. Choose a time when you can really relax and enjoy your time together.”

Because fatigue is a common symptom for people with lupus, it may be helpful to schedule sex for the time of day when you have the most energy. Or, you may choose to take a nap before you plan to have sex. “At first, fatigue was a big symptom for me, so we had to learn to plan for sex when I still had energy,” says Brown.

5. Nurture Your Love Relationship

Find ways to connect with your partner that aren’t sexual. “It’s important to nurture all aspects of your relationship,” says Grusd. Make sure to spend time together doing things you both enjoy -- whether it’s reading, walking, watching movies, or just talking.

“My wife and I have a lot of fun together, and really enjoy each other’s company,” says Brown. “In a way, that’s more important than the sex. Being able to share a laugh together is one of the most crucial parts of our relationship. It’s what gets us through the times that are more challenging.”

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