Keeping the Spark Alive with Psoriatic Arthritis
Having psoriatic arthritis doesn't have to mean kissing your sex life goodbye, but it does make it more difficult.
It's not so easy to feel in the mood when you're in pain and exhausted. Swollen joints and psoriasis can make it hard to feel sexy. Sometimes, sex just sounds like too much to deal with.
Intimacy is what you make it.
I've read tips on arthritis-friendly sex many times. I've heard time and time again to take a hot bath or shower and pregame with your medicines before you plan on being sexually active.
There are even diagrams of arthritis-friendly positions you can find online. Many of them are the same positions recommended after a hip or knee replacement. While these are all very helpful for those who want to go for it, I think it's important to remember that intimacy is about closeness and connection.
Find ways to reconnect with your partner
The end goal of intimacy doesn't have to be sex. It should be about having fun and feeling connected to your partner. For some couples, sex may not be desirable because it's simply too painful. Or because they want to completely avoid the risk of pregnancy during long-term flares or treatment with medications that may harm an unborn baby, such as Methotrexate.
What's important is finding ways to connect that work for both of you. Here are a few of my tips and research for when psoriatic disease is starting to get in the way of your connection with your partner.
Take it easy
On days when you're not feeling well, you might not be up for much. Kissing, cuddling, and other intimate acts can be just as satisfying but easier on your body. Many couples stop doing these things after being together for so long, but reintroducing them could help keep things engaging.
You might also want to consider introducing toys. While they certainly spice things up, that's not the only reason to try them. They can make certain activities a little physically easier, especially if you have pain in your hands.
We talk a lot on this site about tools that make our lives easier- from jar openers to grabbers- so why not explore options that might make our sex lives better too?
Keep it low pressure.
I know it's so much easier said than done, but try not to put too much on your shoulders. . Don't force yourself if you feel uncomfortable undressing or find an activity too painful. It's not going to help you relax and enjoy. It's better to focus on modifying what you're doing or changing it up to feel better.
Sure, sweats and a heating pack aren't conventionally sexy - but they might be the perfect combination for a special night in.
My last piece of advice is to talk with your partner about your sex life. Even with someone you've been with for years, the subject of sex can be uncomfortable. But it's important to talk about your wants, needs, desires, and what you can realistically achieve.
Things can't get better until you address it, and get on the same page. So try to keep it light and work on a plan. You might even want to bring up some of these suggestions or think of some of your own ways to reconnect- in ways that work for the both of you.
Were you ever misdiagnosed before being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA)?