Chronic Illness and Your Sex Life

Sexual satisfaction and relationship boost quality of life, a major concern for people living with chronic illness. Chronic illnesses are health conditions that you have for a long time like cancer, arthritis, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. Sex can be a great source of intimacy, pleasure, and comfort especially in a life restrained by illnesses.

A good and satisfying sex life can make one feel "normal" when so many things have changed their lives due to their illnesses. This article tackles how chronic illness can affect you and your partner’s sex life and gives some helpful tips to keep your sex life healthy despite the illness.

Effects of chronic illness

Chronic illness can negatively affect sexual fulfillment of both sufferers and their partners. The profound impacts of chronic illness on relationship and sexuality are multifactorial.

Typically, people with chronic illness always feel depressed and tired. They may have stiffness, pain, or trouble sleeping. They may need treatments and medicines that can have significant effect on their sex life.

Many have undergone surgical procedures change how their body looks forever. Consequently, many of them become less interested in sex or do not enjoy having sex like they used to.

Furthermore, low self-esteem, extreme anxiety, and grief that go with chronic illness can spoil sexual activities. While some partners easily accept cessation or limitation sexual activity as a result of chronic illness, others suffer from a major emotional crisis because of unsatisfactory sexual relations or alteration of sexual function.

Keeping sex life healthy

There are many ways to keep your sex life healthy despite the chronic health problem. If you are suffering from a chronic illness health problem, the following might be helpful to you in preparing for sexual activities.

Know what time of the day your health problem pesters you the least and you feel most energized. Have sex on that time. Before you engage in sex, you have to be properly rested and relaxed.

In addition, you need to wait for at least two hours after eating to have sex. If you need to take medicine to ease the pain, take it 30 minutes before having sex. You should limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking as these substances can significantly affect sexual function.

You can maintain your sex life by holding the hands, hugging, and touching your partner, even when not having sex. Capitalize on your senses for a more enjoyable sexual activity.

For example, play soothing music, light scented candle, or have satin sheets on the bed. You must explore different sexual positions to know which position is most comfortable for both you and your partner. Also use personal lubricants to reduce discomfort when having sex.

Communicating with your partner

A good communication between you and your partner makes sexual activity more fulfilling. You have to tell your partner your likes and dislikes when having sexual intercourse.

You also need to listen to what your partner likes and does not like. However, there may be a point in time when you decide not to have sex.

Let your partner know your feeling regarding your decision to become not sexually active and why you are feeling that way. Discuss how you can help him/her deal with his/her interest and feelings in sexual activity.