Save your energy in other ways before sex. 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, says Ruffing. Just be aware that some drugs, like opioid painkillers, can slow things down.
Warm up. Take a warm bath before sex to relax and ease your aches, Ruffing says.
Don’t get hung up on how sex used to be. Having RA has probably changed a lot about your life. It's probably going to change your sex life, too. That doesn't mean it has to make your sex life worse. If some of your standard moves don't work now, try new positions. 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, says Lee.
Go easy on yourself. "People with RA tend to be their harshest critics," says Lee. "Be forgiving instead." If you're planning to have sex tonight, remember: It's not an audition. Just 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.