Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sexuality

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Q: Dear Sex Counselor,

I am living with rheumatoid arthritis, and the pain and fatigue that I experience can make sexual intimacy difficult or impossible. Is there anything I can do to improve my sex life?

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Chronic pain and fatigue can make you feel like your sex life is over, but this does not have to be the case. In an article entitled "RA and Intimacy: Keeping Relationships Strong," author Camille Peri lays out six straightforward strategies from experts in the field, as well as women living with RA. You can read the full article here: How to keep your relationship strong and your sex life exciting.

Some of the tips Peri offers include talking to your rheumatologist about medications and side effects, communicating with your partner, and combining soothing activities that bring relief and relaxation (like a bath) with gentle massage and touch with a partner.  Experts add that the feel-good chemicals released by the brain during intimacy can provide a welcome respite from pain.

Our brochure Othercourses also contains some helpful ideas for connecting creatively with a partner. Turning the focus to any activities that bring you pleasure--rather than the goals of intercourse and/or orgasm--liberates you to be in the moment and enjoy more satisfying intimacy for a lifetime.

The Sex Counselor