Have the Sex Talk

Have the Sex Talk

Are you avoiding sex due to pain and related problems? Have a talk with your partner, doctor, or counselor. Chronic pain can have a big impact on your sex life -- and your partner's. Sometimes an expert's advice really helps.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Back pain, hip pain, pain at night, morning stiffness, headache, migraine, wrist pain, sexual problems, erectile dysfunction, impotence, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, mood changes, depression, extreme sensitivity, loss of feeling

Triggers: Lying down, putting weight on joint, sex, drug side effect, medication side effect

Treatments:  amitriptyline (Elavil),  citalopram (Celexa), clomipramine (Anafranil), duloxetine (Cymbalta), devenlafaxine (Pristiq), doxeoin (Sinequan), escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), fluxotine (Sarafem), fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft),  venlafaxine (Effexor),

Categories: Treatment

Duration

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Have the Sex Talk

It may take courage, but having a frank talk about how your pain affects sex can reassure your partner about your feelings. If you're hesitant, consider seeing a counselor -- alone or as a couple.

Talk to your partner about:

* Why you may seem to lack interest

* Positions that are more comfortable

* Time of day you have the most pain

* What might keep sex enjoyable and your relationship intimate

Prompt: Time for a sex talk?

CTA: Be honest and open with your partner.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Back pain, hip pain, pain at night, morning stiffness, headache, migraine, wrist pain, sexual problems,erectile dysfunction, impotence, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, mood changes, depression, extreme sensitivity, loss of feeling

Triggers: Lying down, putting weight on joint, sex

Treatments: Counseling

Categories: Treatments

Sex Talk Appt.

You may need to bring up the topic, but your doctor may still help resolve sexual issues. To ease anxiety, stick with neutral, factual words instead of slang. It may also help to write out your symptoms and questions before your appointment.

Ask your doctor:

* What changes might help ease the pain I have during sex?

* What could cause my reduced libido (sex drive)?

* Should my symptoms be evaluated with lab tests?

* Can you recommend a specialist?

 

Prompt: Ask the doctor!

CTA: Raise the topic of sex.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Back pain, hip pain, pain at night, morning stiffness, headache, migraine, wrist pain, sexual problems,erectile dysfunction, impotence, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, mood changes, depression, extreme sensitivity, loss of feeling

Triggers: Lying down, putting weight on joint, sex

Categories: Treatments

Other Sex Stoppers

Pain may not be the only thing contributing to sexual problems. Other factors may be physical or emotional -- from fatigue and fear of pain to depression and medication side effects.

Get insight from your doctor about your concerns. Then take steps to address what you can.

Prompt: More than pain?

CTA: Identify barriers to sex.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Back pain, hip pain, pain at night, morning stiffness, headache, migraine, wrist pain, sexual problems,erectile dysfunction, impotence, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, mood changes, depression, extreme sensitivity, loss of feeling

Triggers: Exercising, lying down, putting weight on joint, twisting, drug side effect, medication side effect, anxiety, fatigue, overtiredness, stress

Treatments: Anafranil, Elavil, Tofranil, Sinequan, Pamelor, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Luvox, Lexapro, Sarafem, Effexor, Pristiq, Cymbalta

Categories: Treatments

Sex Has Benefits!

If pain or other problems make sex challenging and you want to avoid talking about it, spur yourself to action with this fact: a healthy sex life is good for you. Sex not only strengthens an intimate relationship, but it also boosts endorphins. These are your body's natural opioids. They can help decrease your pain and increase your feelings of well-being.

Prompt: Healing sex?

CTA: Focus on how sex helps well-being.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Back pain, hip pain, pain at night, morning stiffness, headache, migraine, wrist pain, sexual problems,erectile dysfunction, impotence, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, mood changes, depression, extreme sensitivity, loss of feeling

Triggers: Exercising, lying down, putting weight on joint, repetitive motions, twisting, drug side effect, medication side effect, anxiety, fatigue, overtiredness, stress

Treatments: Anafranil, Elavil, Tofranil, Sinequan, Pamelor, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Luvox, Lexapro, Sarafem, Effexor, Pristiq, Cymbalta

Categories: Treatments

Seek Sex Counseling

Talking to a professional counselor can be helpful for guidance about how to:

* Talk with your partner

* Manage any stress your sex problems are causing

Ask your doctor if a referral would be appropriate. Some counselors even specialize in sex counseling. For best results, find someone you're comfortable talking openly with about this personal subject.

Prompt: Avoiding sex?

CTA: Let an expert help.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Back pain, hip pain, pain at night, morning stiffness, headache, migraine, wrist pain, sexual problems,erectile dysfunction, impotence, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, mood changes, depression, extreme sensitivity, loss of feeling

Triggers: Lying down, putting weight on joint, sex

Treatments: Anafranil, Elavil, Tofranil, Sinequan, Pamelor, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Luvox, Lexapro, Sarafem, Effexor, Pristiq, Cymbalta

Categories: Treatments

Refresh Sex

Brainstorm ways with your partner to improve your sex life. For instance:

* Allow for spontaneity on days you're feeling better.

* Plan for sex in the hours your meds have the fewest side effects.

* Ease into sex with a warm bath, massage, or gentle exercise.

* Slow down. Rediscover foreplay and other kinds of intimacy.

* Let your mate know what positions feel good and which don't. Agree in advance on a safe way to say it.

* Talk about how to invite and decline sex without hurting feelings.

Some books offer useful suggestions about how to improve your sex life. Ask your health care provider for suggestions.

Prompt: Experiment!

CTA: Suggest ideas for better sex.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Back pain, hip pain, pain at night, morning stiffness, headache, migraine, wrist pain, sexual problems,erectile dysfunction, impotence, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, mood changes, depression, extreme sensitivity, loss of feeling

Triggers: Exercising, lying down, putting weight on joint, repetitive motions, twisting, drug side effect, medication side effect, anxiety, fatigue, overtiredness, stress

Treatments: Anafranil, Elavil, Tofranil, Sinequan, Pamelor, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Luvox, Lexapro, Sarafem, Effexor, Pristiq, Cymbalta

Categories: Treatments

Sex Therapy

Some counselors specialize in sexual issues. Sex therapists know the physiological and psychological aspects of sexuality. They often work collaboratively with doctors for a holistic approach to sexual concerns.

Rest assured, certified sex therapists do not have physical contact with their clients.

To find one, contact your health insurance or the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).

Prompt: Time for sex therapy?

CTA: Let an expert help.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Back pain, hip pain, pain at night, morning stiffness, headache, migraine, wrist pain, sexual problems,erectile dysfunction, impotence, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, mood changes, depression, extreme sensitivity, loss of feeling

Triggers: Lying down, putting weight on joint, sex

Treatments: Anafranil, Elavil, Tofranil, Sinequan, Pamelor, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Luvox, Lexapro, Sarafem, Effexor, Pristiq, Cymbalta

Categories: Treatments

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on August 26, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

University of Washington Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine: "Sex and Arthritis."

American College of Rheumatology: "Sex and Arthritis."

Hebert, L. Sex and Back Pain, Impacc USA, 1997.

Arthritis Foundation: "Fibromyalgia: Treatment Options."

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