Psoriatic Arthritis and Sex: Is it Even Possible?
Last updated: March 2023
Got your attention, didn't I? Honestly, it doesn’t seem like we mention it much here on Psoriatic-Arthritis.com or even much within the wider PsA community. And yet, psoriatic arthritis impacts pretty much everyone’s sex lives, in a variety of ways.
So can you have both psoriatic arthritis and sex? Yes - you can!
Having a healthy sex life is very difficult
I can only speak from the female perspective, but when my body is fighting me and I’m having days when I feel bad, the last thing I feel is “beautiful.” And I’ll be honest, having a good, healthy sex life is very difficult, especially for women, when you don’t feel beautiful.
It is difficult to feel all “oh-la-la” when all I feel is “oh-ow-ow.” I’ve recently had a really bad run of days when I struggled switching to a new medication partnered with the waiting period to see if it would actually work.
That struggle really has taken a toll on both my physical and mental health. And it is safe to say that all of that certainly translates to struggles between the sheets. And while my hubby is very understanding of our life and how it is impacted by my chronic health conditions, the reality is that he is only human.
Tips for managing PsA between the sheets
Let’s be honest here folks, most people don’t consider psoriasis patches sexy. Especially considering some of the places we get them. The reality is that they can be a deterrent to your desire for sex. Feeling self-conscious about your psoriasis can make it even more unlikely.
Here are a few tips for managing your PsA between the sheets...
Open communication is a must
We talk a great deal about this in terms of all our relationships including family, friends, and doctors. But I’ll be honest, I tend to shy away from this particular topic with my doctor, and even sometimes with my husband. But open communication is so vital if you want to even have a chance of maintaining any sex life with your partner.
Speak with your doctor
I know it is difficult, but speaking with your doctor about any issues is just as important as open communication with your partner. They might be able to identify if your desire for sex is impacted by your medications or if the decreased desire is a side effect. Many SSRIs are prescribed to help manage pain and sometimes they can have sexual side effects.
Take it slow
There is no need to go crazy - unless that’s your thing, I guess. But more often than not, our joints are tender and lack much flexibility. Communicate painful points to your partner and for heaven’s sake, take it slowly! Sex is meant to be an enjoyable experience, not an experience that puts you into flareland for a month.
In fact, done correctly your body will release endorphins that help you manage the pain better. I call that a win for everyone!
Make it a priority
Holy tough thing to do, Batman! I know. We only have so many spoons and so many days. It is easy to make so many other things priorities for our energy over sex. I get it. I really do! Just like many “normal” couples, everyone struggles with dishes, laundry, work, children, and stress.
Does PsA affect your sex life? If, like me, maybe you tend to shy away from the topic with your partner, perhaps consider using this article as a starting point for a conversation. After all, that is usually the most difficult part, getting started.
Do you usually need to recover from a vacation?