Sex and Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Tricky Tango

Improving Intimacy with Rheumatoid Arthritis Practical Tips for Sexual Wellness

Improving Intimacy with Rheumatoid Arthritis Tips for Better Sex

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can really know how to put a damper on your sex life. Just ask Mariah Leach, who has been dealing with RA since she was 25 years old. “Let me tell you, joint pain and fatigue can make physical intimacy extremely challenging,” she explains. “There were days when I struggled just to lift a mug of coffee to my mouth, so you can imagine how appealing physical intimacy was to me at that point!”

But fear not, my dear friends. You can still have a healthy and fulfilling sex life even with RA. And if you’re thinking, “Sure, easier said than done,” well, you’re not entirely wrong. You may need to find different ways that work best for you and your partner. It’s all about adapting and embracing the challenge.

The Ravages of RA on Intimacy

RA doesn’t just take a toll on you physically, it can also wreak havoc on your mental and emotional well-being. In fact, a study from 2018 revealed that over half of the people living with RA reported issues related to their sex life, such as pain during intercourse, low sex drive, and overall dissatisfaction with their sexual health. Ouch, that’s a tough pill to swallow.

Common RA symptoms, like pain, fatigue, and stiffness, can drain your energy and leave you feeling like a deflated balloon. And let’s not forget about the lovely mood and body image issues that can arise from medications and their accompanying side effects. It’s like a never-ending battle, isn’t it?

Now, before you throw in the towel and resign yourself to a life of celibacy, take a deep breath. There are plenty of things you can do to improve your intimate encounters, even with the RA monster lurking in the background.

  1. Prioritize your sex life: Yes, my friends, your sexual health deserves attention, regardless of any other health issues you may be facing. Give it the importance it deserves.
  2. Open up and communicate: Don’t let misinterpretations and assumptions ruin the mood. Talk to your partner honestly and openly about your challenges. Let them know that it’s not about attraction but about the battle you’re fighting together.
  3. Ditch the scorecard: It’s easy to fall into the trap of keeping track of who’s doing what in the relationship. Instead, focus on appreciating the little things your partner does to contribute and support you.
  4. Energy conservation: Choose the best times for your sexual escapades when you feel good and energized. Morning stiffness? Nah. Opt for that time when you’re feeling more flexible and vibrant.
  5. Embrace experimentation: Pain and fatigue may try to hog the spotlight, but you can outsmart them by getting creative. Try new positions, explore different forms of intimacy, and unleash your inner adventurer.
  6. Humor is your ally: When things get uncomfortable, bring in the humor. Laughter can lighten the mood, smooth over issues, and remind you why you fell in love in the first place.
  7. Relax with warm baths and massages: Stiff joints putting a damper on your flexibility? Take a relaxing warm bath or ask your partner for a massage to loosen those joints and set the stage for pleasure.
  8. Talk to your doctor: Yes, it may feel a bit awkward, but trust me, your doctor has heard it all before. Get their help in managing your pain and fatigue, as it can significantly enhance your sex life.

Remember, my dear readers, you are not alone. Many others are also grappling with similar challenges. Take comfort in the fact that there are ways to adapt, modify and find joy in your intimate moments, despite the struggles with RA. Keep fighting the good fight, and remember to embrace laughter and love along the way.

Now, over to you! Have you faced any challenges with RA and intimacy? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below! Let’s support and learn from each other because, hey, we’re all in this together.