The past week has been hard on me. I have been having a lot of issues with my joints, and my Chiari pain.
I want to write about a topic that seems to be taboo: How to deal with being intimate when you are living with chronic pain.
For most people, its hard enough to talk to their partner or doctor when they have a normal, healthy, sexual relationship. Add having chronic pain to that mix, and the conversation becomes almost extinct.
It is of great importance to keep the channels of communication open, but being exhausted and in pain doesn’t help. If you feel like you can’t physically talk to your partner face to face, there are other ways to let them know what your feeling. Write a letter, text, email, or just stand behind a door! It can be hard to talk about something that makes us feel so vulnerable, but it can strengthen your relationship. This conversation is best had outside of the bedroom. Set aside time when your not busy, and you can focus on the conversation you are having.
Our partners can feel rejected or unattractive when there are problems with intimacy. You need to be open, and explain that there is nothing wrong within your relationship, but that being in pain, and dealing with extreme fatigue doesn’t exactly make you want to rip your clothes off!
I know its hard to think or talk about what you want out of a sexual relationship with your partner, but intimacy is a very large part of what makes us feel loved and bonded with our partners.
There are a few things that have helped me in my own relationship that I would like to pass on to you:
- Schedule a “date.” Don’t do a lot of house work or errands that day. Don’t go anywhere if you don’t need to. That way you can share a nice evening together just catching up and spending quality time together.
- Take a relaxing hot bath ( if you can) and invite your partner in the room. They can give you a light massage to help you loosen up.
- Cuddle in bed. Intimacy is so much more than regular intercourse. You can always do other things. Just spend that time alone together and reconnect with your partner.
- Tell or show your partner how attractive they are to you. Being in pain takes a toll on your self esteem.
- Leave little notes for your partner, or give them a random for no reason card to say you care.
The topic of sexual relationships and intimacy is not talked about enough. People are usually too ashamed to talk about something that is perfectly natural. This especially goes for women. We need to speak up about what we do and don’t want, and what works, what doesn’t, and how our condition effects our ability to become aroused. These things need to be discussed in relationships so your partner isn’t feeling left out or unloved. Our brains are wired to feel love differently. For men, its through physical, sexual contact. For women, its more mental.
Just remember, when all else fails, just talk it out! Now go! Talk to your partners and tell them what they mean to you 🙂