I know what you’re thinking when you read that title – “Who in the heck feels like having sex when I feel this bad?” Well, I’m sure you don’t but chances are your spouse does. No matter how supportive a spouse is, having your sex life go down the tubes is not good for any marriage.
Those with chronic illnesses lose their physical desire to have sex because they are either always in pain, always too fatigued, too depressed or a combination of all three. Medications can also affect the person’s sex drive. The one thing I always remembered from my doctor when I talked to her about not having a sex drive at my lowest point with CFS. She said,
“Do you WANT to have your desire back? If so, I can help you. It’s when you don’t care that you don’t have a sex drive that I can no longer help you. If you are at that point there is more than just health issues going on.”
I will never forget that conversation with her for as long as I live because that let me know that what was happening wasn’t my fault – and that I did still want to have a sex drive. That took away a lot of the guilt.
People with chronic illness may also feel less desirable because of lack of confidence. Chronic illness can do a lot to a person emotionally and not feeling attractive can be a big issue.
Want help but don’t know where to start? Read on!
Talk to Your Spouse
Communication is the key to making any relationship work and talking to your spouse about why you have lost your desire or why you don’t feel up to having sex is important. Your spouse may be blaming himself and may think that you don’t find him desirable anymore. If you don’t talk about why you are not wanting to have sex, the whole situation can blow out of proportion.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you have a great family doctor as I do, don’t be afraid to talk to him or her about what’s going on. Maybe an anti-depressant or pain medication you’re taking is causing your sex drive to dwindle and the doctor can’t help you if they don’t know what’s going on. Your doctor will probably have some great tips or suggestions to help. Don’t be afraid to open up and get help.
Here are some other great suggestions for helping your sex life while chroncially ill (Source: Familydoctor.org):
- Plan sexual activity for the time of day when you have the most energy and your health problem bothers you the least.
- Be sure that you are rested and relaxed.
- Wait at least 2 hours after you eat to have sex.
- If you need pain medicine to feel better, take the medicine 30 minutes before sexual activity.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink, and avoid using tobacco in any form. Alcohol and tobacco can affect sexual function.
The following might help you maintain your sex life:
- Hold hands, hug and touch your partner, even when you do not plan to have sex.
- Use your senses to make sexual activity more enjoyable. For example, have satin sheets on the bed, light scented candles or play music.
- Tell your partner what you like and do not like. Listen to your partner’s likes and dislikes.
- Try different sexual positions to find positions that are comfortable for you and your partner or use pillows for comfort.
- Try personal lubricants (one brand name: K-Y Jelly) to help reduce discomfort with sexual intercourse.