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Save your energy in other ways before you make love. Skip heavy chores that day if you can. "When it's date night, put off your grocery shopping and other errands until the next day," says Darlene Lee, NP, a nurse practitioner and practice manager at the University of California Rheumatology Clinic in San Francisco.

Plan your medicine doses. If your pain medication takes an hour to work, take it an hour before you have sex, Ruffing says. Just be aware that some drugs, like opioid painkillers, can slow things down.

Warm up. Take a warm bath beforehand to relax and ease your aches, Ruffing says.

Don’t get hung up on how things used to be. Having RA has probably changed a lot about your life. It's probably going to change your sex life, too. So try new positions if some of your standard moves aren't comfortable anymore. Think beyond intercourse. You may need to adapt, but you don't need to give in. Use these changes as a chance to find new pleasures, Lee says.

Go easy on yourself. "People with RA tend to be their harshest critics," Lee says. "Be forgiving instead." If you plan to have sex tonight, remember that feeling close and connected can be good for you and your partner.

With or without RA, sex can be clumsy and silly sometimes. That's OK. If a new technique doesn't work, try not to get self-conscious or embarrassed. Laugh it off and try another. Sex isn't supposed to be solemn. It's supposed to be fun.

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