MS and Your Sex Life

Medically Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on April 18, 2017
2 min read

Keep your sex life exciting, playful, and fun. The key is to take the time to find out what's important to you and your partner.

Explore. Your body may feel different than it used to, now that you have multiple sclerosis (MS). Get in touch with that, says Rosalind Kalb, PhD, of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Lock the bedroom door, relax, and take 15 minutes to feel every part of your body.

"Figure out what feels good, what doesn't, and what hurts," Kalb says. Take stock of what your body feels now.

Share what you've learned. Once you have a sense of what feels good, tell your partner, who may have been nervous or worried about accidentally hurting you.

Reset your relationship. "When you have MS, you and your partner talk a lot about your health," says Cindy Richman of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. "You may start to feel more like a patient than a person."

Don't let all the health talk make you less sexual and desirable. To reconnect, set aside times when you agree not to talk about MS.

Treat your MS as an opportunity to try different things in bed.

Try new positions. Your old standbys, like the missionary position, may be uncomfortable now. Try others.

Use pillows or rolled-up towels to support parts of your body to make you more comfortable.

Experiment with sex toys. Try them if you find you need more stimulation than you used to. You can use them alone or with your partner.

Add lubricant.  Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of MS. So buy a water-based lubricant and use a lot of it. People tend to use too little, Kalb says.

Redefine sex. Try to focus more on the experience and less on checking off the boxes. Sex doesn't mean you have to have intercourse. You and your partner don't have to climax. You can still have an intimate -- and sexy -- experience.

Prepare. Good sex doesn't have to be spontaneous. Plan ahead. Decide on a day and time. Anticipation might build your excitement.

Choose the time of day when you feel best. For instance, you may have more energy in the morning than at night.

Talk to your doctor about any MS symptoms that might get in the way of being intimate with your partner. She can suggest treatments. For example:

Bladder and bowel problems. Medications and behavior changes, like drinking less before sex, can help.

Spasms. You can reduce muscle spasms during sex by timing your medication so it's most effective when you need it.