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Get Creative About Sex

Don’t think of sex in the same way you always did. The positions that worked for you before you began your struggle with chronic pain may not work for you now. You may need to think of new ways to initiate intimacy and different ways to be intimate.

  • Change positions. Especially if you have severe back pain or neck pain, being on the bottom -- or the top -- could be painful. Try a side-to-side position to alleviate back or neck pressure; use pillows for support.
  • Take your time. Instead of just initiating sex, sit quietly by the fireplace with your partner and read a romantic or sexy book to each other. “This is time for you as a couple, not focused on pain,” Kantor says. “Hold each other’s feet and give your partner a foot massage. Don’t be in a rush. After awhile, it becomes not about the pain and not about forcing yourself.
  • Try alternatives to intercourse. “People can try using vibrators, manual stimulation, and other intimate acts besides just intercourse itself,” says Sisk. “Go beyond ‘You do me and I do you.’”

When you’re coping with chronic pain it can be tempting to just write off the sexual part of your life. But that puts your relationship at risk. “If you’re not at least willing to explore intimacy with your partner, you’re going to be in trouble,” Sisk says. “Your partner has to learn what your illness means to you, how it affects your sexuality, and try new things to make it better. And you have to understand that sex is important to your partner. You can’t say, ‘That part of our life is over now.’”

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