I have chronic lower back pain for the last two years and I don’t know if I’ll ever be rid of it. My wife and I have avoided sex in case we make my back worse, and we kept expecting it to get better. But if it doesn’t get better, is that the end of our sex-life?
I’m sorry to hear you have chronic back pain and I know from personal experience just how debilitating it can be. As I don’t know the cause of your pain, it’s very hard for me to make suggestions, so I’ll try to give a few options and hope one of them is helpful. I’m not a medic or expert in back pain so anything I suggest would need to be checked with your doctor before you try it, to ensure no further damage is done.
You’re never going back to what you had, but there are lots of ways to experience intimacy and pleasure if you are willing to experiment. Planning your new sex-life together can be very bonding and can add sparkle to your relationship again. Chronic pain can rob you of so many things, but for those determined souls, it can also bring new beginnings.
Tell your wife you miss being intimate with her and share what you both miss. While you both might miss sexual intimacy, it could be for different reasons. For example, one of you might miss the physicality of sex and the other might miss the closeness it brings.
It’s vital that you both communicate at every stage because you may both feel worried before and during anything you try. Partners can worry just as much as the sufferers and can be terribly afraid of causing pain to the person they love. In fact many partners of chronic pain sufferers develop their own problems around sexual intimacy which is another really good reason to discuss sex with your wife prior to trying anything.
Start gently with kissing and caressing and see how that goes. Give feedback and be positive and reassuring to each other. Try snuggling in bed together naked, holding each other and looking in each other’s eyes. Tell each other how you feel and what you love about each other. This approach helps to calm and build confidence which you both may need after such a long hiatus.
This may be a new way for you both and will need communication skills and a willingness to be vulnerable together. Many couples living with chronic pain report that when they engage in this kind of sexual play, they experience intimacy on a whole new level because they actually take time to connect deeper than before.
Get yourselves lots of pillows and cushions or invest in a sex supporter. Liberator is a good make for sex cushions and wedges and can be bought on Amazon. This is where you’re going to need to experiment with positions to find what’s comfortable for you both.
If you find standing good, you can experiment with your wife at the edge of the bed/sofa/chair, either bending over (try pillows under her hips) for rear entry, or facing you with her legs spread so you can penetrate without bending (pillows under her bum). Take time to get the heights right so there’s no strain.
Spooning can work too for penetration from behind, but this is best suited to longer penises.
Take your time and try not to judge yourselves based on what used to work. Think of yourselves as first-timers again and be open to learning. Change positions if you need, and remember makes perfect.
If you’re on opioids or other heavy meds, they may impact your erections so talk to your doc about what can be done to help. And finally, get yourselves some nice lubrication and use it for hand stimulation and any penetration to ensure comfort and pleasure.
What’s the best sexual position for someone with arthritis in all the joints? I’m not on much medication and try to manage it with exercise and diet but I find I can’t hold myself up with my arms any more, and thrusting can hurt. I’m at a bit of a loss as missionary was our favourite position. My wife also has sore hands and wrists. We miss it.
It sounds like it’s time to mix it up! You’re right not to continue with positions that hurt you, but there are plenty more ways to make love.
Chat to your wife first about trying new positions and see what you can both feel okay trying. If her knees are okay, you could try her on top. You can be propped up or lying flat and she can use your chest, or the wall/bedhead to steady herself. This way you can give feedback, kiss and look at each other as with missionary. You can also try having your wife straddle you while you sit on a comfy chair. It needs to be a kitchen style chair, low enough for her feet to touch the ground so she can balance and control her movements. Your job is to stay still and let her take control of the thrusting. If you find your wife’s weight too much for your hips, you can try lying side-by-side and she can throw a leg over you and wriggle herself into a position where you can penetrate, and once you’re inside, she can move herself along your penis while you’re fully supported. This can be a nice position if you’re both a bit tired too.
Pillows and supports can be great and if you go to www.liberator.com you can check out their “position guide” for ideas for supported positions. Some won’t suit as they aren’t specifically aimed at people with pain, but many will, and it’s a great place to learn how to use supports.
I’m 52 and until I had my last period two years ago I was able to feel turned on. My husband of 25 years still wants to have sex but I could quite easily never have sex again. When we do have sex it hurts though we still do the same things as before. I feel bad for him but I don’t want to do it if it hurts. Help!
You’ve officially hit menopause when you haven’t had a period for a full year. Only then will you be offered HRT because your hormones need to have balanced out a bit before they know what to give you. Some women can’t take HRT or don’t want to, but there are natural alternatives now. Check out https://mysecondspring.ie/blog/have-you-heard-of-bio-identical-hormone-treatment.
Lubrication usually significantly decreases with menopause due to lowered oestrogen that can also cause thinning of the vaginal walls. If your sexual repertoire is unchanged since pre-menopause, the pain you experience may be due to friction caused by dryness.
A topical oestrogen cream will help with this, and always use a good organic lubrication such as Yes Yes Yes. Apply generously inside your vagina as well as all over anything that will be used to penetrate you, and reapply often.
If you have a willing partner, now’s the time discover new ways to connect sexually with and without penetration. You’ve changed so you’re never going back to what you had. While sex before may have been a three-course meal with penetration as the main dish, try to think of it as a table of tapas. You may have your favourites but if they’re not on the menu, there’s no need to starve! Read the above Q&A for suggestions around masturbation (to learn what you need now) and female arousal. Be gentle with yourself and don’t give up!