Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sex and Rheumatoid Arthritis

So today, let’s talk about relationships and sex.  One of the most important aspects of any relationship is open communication.  A relationship without open communication makes it difficult for individuals to connect mentally, physically, or emotionally.  Sexual activity provides more than a physical connection, it binds people mentally and emotionally as well.  It also increases blood flow and releases endorphins which serve as the body’s own pain relievers, both which are good for RA.

Open communication requires a willingness to be honest.  Rheumatoid arthritis may cause changes to the body which make sex more challenging.  You may experience pain and stiffness which interfere with comfortable movement.  Fatigue and depression (which are common with RA) may get in the way of desire and libido.  Medications you take for RA may also impact libido and sexual response.  Or your body may seem fragile, making your partner fearful of causing you additional pain or physical damage.

Communicate with your partner about your concerns and do not be afraid to ask for what you need to be more comfortable.  Since RA can affect mobility and range of motion, experiment with different positions to avoid placing stress on parts of your body that are hurting or weak.  Rolled-up towels or blankets, pillows, specially-designed furniture, or props can be used to support your body.  The Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine at the University of Washington offers tips for communication and new positions to consider when you have arthritis.  However, please be aware that if you have RA in the spine, in the neck specifically, it can be very dangerous to put any pressure on the neck during sex. 

Read this post in its entirety:

How Can I Improve My Sex Life with RA?

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