Fact: Sex is supposed to be fun and pleasurable. It is a time when you just focus on your body, and enjoy the pleasure you give and receive. Unfortunately, effortless, painless sex is not for everyone. In fact, there are women who experience pain and discomfort due to a condition called fibromyalgia, which prevents them from enjoying sex.
Yes, fibromyalgia. Just like how difficult it is to pronounce, this condition could take a toll in your sex life and relationship. Still, don’t let fibromyalgia ruin your sex life. Check out these 17 things you should know about this condition, plus tips on how to bring the fun and pleasure inside the bedroom.
1. Your Daily Pain: Is It a Medical Condition Called Fibromyalgia?
The word, “fibromyalgia,” comes from the Latin word, “fibro,” which means fibrous tissue, “myo” for muscle, and “algia,” which means pain. It is a common and chronic disorder that comes with musculoskeletal pain, tenderness and many other symptoms, which you will learn more about, below.
Experts believe that this condition amplifies painful sensations. As a result, it affects the way your brain processes pain signals, which has a direct impact on all of your normal activities, including sex.
Fibromyalgia affects five million Americans ages 18 and older. Surprisingly, 80 to 90 percent of patients diagnosed with this condition are middle-aged women. Aside from yourself, those with rheumatic diseases like spinal arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are also prone to this condition.
2. Understanding the Symptoms That Come with this Painful Condition
- Cognitive and memory issues, known as “fibro fog”
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Painful menstrual periods
- Sleep disorders, like restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea
- Numbness or tingling sensations in your extremities
- Morning stiffness
- Sensitivity to bright lights or loud noises
3. Determining the Culprit for Your Condition: The Causes of Fibromyalgia
So, what causes this condition?
Up to this date, doctors are unsure as to the exact cause of fibromyalgia. However, there are various factors involved, such as:
- Genes – If it runs in the family, then you are most likely to develop this disorder. There might be genes that cause you to react strongly to stimuli, which other people perceive as not painful.
- Physical or Emotional Trauma – An example of this is post-traumatic stress disorder, from major life events, such as an automobile accident.
- Illness or Infection – It’s hard to tell when you are sick with an illness or infection, so any time you simply don’t feel like yourself no matter what you do, it’s time to talk to your doctor.
Given these symptoms and causes, did you know that one of the areas affected by fibromyalgia is your sexual life? The truth is, fibromyalgia and sex don’t seem to go well together. In fact, you might find yourself feeling pain and having a hard time enjoying the experience, which we will discuss further.
4. Understanding Your Pain: Why Fibromyalgia Hurts So Much
The major characteristic and symptom of this condition is widespread pain all over your body. In fact, even light or sensual touches may bring you pain and discomfort, which often makes sex uncomfortable.
Are you wondering why it hurts?
There is limited information available from analyzing the relationship between fibromyalgia and sex; however, experts believe that the repeated nerve stimulation causes your brain reactions to change. As a result, your body experiences an abnormal increase of certain chemicals in your brain that signal pain.
Aside from this, the repeated painful sensations cause your brain’s pain receptors to remember and store the memory of the pain. This causes your body to become more sensitive the next time, causing it to overreact even to the lightest touch.
5. When Fibromyalgia Gets in Your Way: The Effects on Your Sex Life
Here’s how:You already know that fibromyalgia and sex are not on good terms. In fact, there are patients, including you perhaps, who give up sex and any form of intimacy altogether, because it simply hurts too much. The question is, how does this condition affect your sex life in such a drastic way?
- Pain: Increased muscle aches due to extra pressure during intimate moments
- Medications: There are fibromyalgia medications that could interfere with your sexual desire.
- Emotions: This condition may cause emotional problems like depression and anxiety, which we will delve into more, below.
The bottom line is, this condition will both directly and indirectly affect your sex life. Still, you are stronger than your condition, and there are various techniques you can use to help you manage the symptoms, which you will learn more about as you read through this article.
6. Decreased Libido: A Common Concern Among Fibromyalgia Patients
Your man is discreetly showing messages that he is in the mood and wants to get it on as soon as the kids are sleeping. You badly want to get some action and please your man, but your entire body is telling you otherwise.
You might think that it’s just stress, fatigue, or problems at home that are causing your lack of sex drive. What you need to understand is that your decreased libido is an effect related to hormonal imbalances, body image concerns, depression, and illnesses such as fibromyalgia.
If you’ve noticed a decrease in your libido, don’t immediately conclude that it is fibromyalgia, although it is still a possibility. Make sure to schedule that trip to the doctor to determine the exact cause of lack of sex drive and then treat it accordingly.
Consequently, make sure to read through the rest of the article to find out techniques on how to fix your decreased libido.
7. The Physical Effects: When Sex and Fibromyalgia Collide
Given these circumstances, what happens when you decide to give it a try inside the bedroom despite your condition?
There are two scenarios. Either you will have fun and enjoy the experience, provided you follow the tips on how to minimize the symptoms or you will have to go through the following physical symptoms during and after your lovemaking session:
- Altered genital sensations
- Unscheduled bowel movement during the session
- Painful intercourse
This is the reason why you need time and attention before you jump in the bed for some action. The truth is you can prevent these physical symptoms from ruining your sexual experience. All it takes are the right techniques and extra care to allow you to enjoy a one-of-a-kind steamy session.
8. When the Psychological and Emotional Effects Take Over Your Sex Life
Whatever is going through your life could have an effect on your mental and emotional state. It all boils down on how you will manage these stressors. Apparently, fibromyalgia is not exempted from stress.
You learned from above that fibromyalgia has an effect on your emotional and psychological state. In fact, it can cause the following:
- Poor self image
- Fear of rejection
All of these psychological effects could create havoc inside your body and contribute to your loss of desire and sex drive. In other words, fibromyalgia affects your sexual function in some serious ways.
You may start to feel useless and hopeless inside and outside the bedroom. As much as possible, you want to prevent any sexual attempts, just to avoid your pain and discomfort. You give up romantic aspirations because of your fear of further pain and injury. You become less intimate with your partner because there will always be that fear that you won’t be able to please them.
From your standpoint, you might feel that sex is an impossible activity. The pain you feel from every touch could make sex extremely uncomfortable for you.
The good news is, there are various ways to stop this condition from taking a toll on your sex life. Keep reading to learn more about techniques that will help you bring your sex life back in the game.
9. Pillow Talk: An Age-Old, Yet Effective Technique to Regain Your Spark
You may not notice it, but your condition is slowly bringing your relationship down the drain. You avoid intimacy and as much as possible, brush off your man and make up tons of excuses not to have sex.
Here is a simple but effective technique to get the spark back: have a pillow talk.
As soon as the dishes are clean and your kids are asleep, lie down and have an intimate talk with your partner. Talk about your dreams, fantasies, preferences, needs and wants, both in and out of the bedroom. Find some techniques you can try to put sex back on the map, despite the pain and discomfort you may be feeling.
Through pillow talk, you are able to rebuild the connection you lost, which could pave way to something sexier and even more intimate. If you’re still not in the mood to talk, you can try the following techniques to build a connection and encourage intimacy:
- Give each other a massage.
- Watch a romantic movie together.
- Cook for each other.
- Take a bath together.
- Watch a sultry and sexy TV show.
- Listen to romantic music.
The important thing is to keep the communication lines open and sexual intimacy will follow naturally.
10. Pain Relievers: Finding Your First Line of Defense
Getting your body in tune doesn’t happen overnight. All the tips you learn to help you manage the symptoms for the sake of sex require time before you will see the results. In the meantime, you can try over-the-counter or prescribed pain relievers. Take the instructed dosage one hour before your bedroom session. This ensures that the pain relievers have time to work on your aches, so you will have a great time inside the bedroom.
Pain relievers like ibuprofen and tramadol are your first line of defense against fibromyalgia. The good thing about this type of relief is that it is easily accessible and comes in lower doses to avoid addiction.
Just in case pain relievers don’t help, you can ask your doctor to prescribe medications to help you feel better. Just take it easy and don’t overdose yourself, because too much is bad for your health and could even worsen your fibromyalgia symptoms.
11. Better Sex: Bring Out Your Copy of Kama Sutra and Experiment
Sexual positions are among the defining factors that could make or break your sex life. There are many positions that could aggravate your fibromyalgia pain, but there are some that could minimize the symptoms and make sex more comfortable, and therefore, pleasurable for you both.
Therefore, experiment with various positions to find out which can minimize your pain and discomfort. For instance, if you experience back pain, you might want to ask your partner to be on top, or to lie on his side as your most comfortable position.
The important thing is to identify the most sensitive areas in your body and then choose positions that will avoid placing pressure on these sensitive spots. Don’t forget to place a pillow under your hips, arms, or any sore area for added comfort. Placing pillows will significantly help you and make sex comfortable as you try everything in the Kama Sutra book.
In relation to experimentation, read the following tip to know how you can enjoy sex more.
12. Honey, I’m in the Mood: The Importance of Scheduling Your Sexy Sessions
We all know how spontaneity and quickies add spice in our sex lives. In fact, most sex therapists recommend quickies once in a while to maintain a strong connection and add fun into a relationship.
Here comes the main issue: You may not be fit for spontaneous sex because of the symptoms that come with your condition.
Don’t feel bad. You can still amplify your sex life and have fun even without those occasional quickies. All you have to do is to plan and schedule your sessions. This way, you will be able to manage your symptoms and make necessary adjustments to make sex less problematic. At the same time, you could provide a comfortable environment to make the sessions less stressful and more manageable for you.
The best part is it allows you and your partner to rediscover romance and encourage intimacy in your relationship.
13. Get Relief From Fibromyalgia With Yoga
Have you tried yoga? If not, then now is the time to consider enrolling in yoga classes.
Here’s the deal: one of the best ways to minimize the symptoms of fibromyalgia is an age-old technique that goes by the name of yoga. According to a study from Oregon Health and Science University, yoga improves symptoms like pain, fatigue and anxiety. The combination of breathing exercises, low-impact poses, and meditation could help improve your moods and help you sleep more soundly.
At the same time, this practice promotes your body awareness and control to help you improve your ability to reduce pain and muscle tension. Consequently, yoga teaches you to identify your clenched muscles, and then help you be able to release them.
Yoga for Fibromyalgia: Let’s Get Started
Here are some pain-relieving yoga poses you can try:
- Seated Mountain Pose – Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground, your spine lengthened, and hands resting on your thighs. Roll onto the center of your sitting bones and feel how your spine lightens. This will reduce muscle tension in the pelvis and hips area.
- Seated Hamstring Stretch Pose – While in a seated mountain pose, place your thumb in the crease where your thighs meet your torso. Then extend your right leg with your toes pointing towards the ceiling. As you inhale, lift your chest, lengthen your spine, and slowly lower your torso forward. Hold this for five seconds before returning to the mountain pose.
- Seated Cobra Pose – In a seated mountain pose, put your arms behind you and sit flat on a chair. Inhale deeply as you lift your ribs and gently arch your middle back. Exhale by relaxing your shoulders.
If you are not into yoga, you can try the other techniques we’ll discuss, below.
14. Acupuncture: Another Age-Old Technique for Blessed Relief
You have to thank the ancient civilizations for coming up with techniques that are still helpful, right up to this day. Another example of this is acupuncture. Yes, it could help manage your fibromyalgia pain too, so you don’t have to worry about it when your lover comes a-calling.
According to a study published in the Journal of Rehabilitative Medicine, acupuncture provided relief for fibromyalgia patients compared to those who didn’t have it. There was another study showing that injecting diluted bee venom into acupoints helped reduce musculoskeletal pain, too.
So, what’s the point?
Consider acupuncture if you want to get some relief from your constant pain due to fibromyalgia. You can schedule a session a few hours before the intended sex session to be able to maximize your benefits.
15. Don’t Skip the Exercise: Minimizing Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Are you surprised to see exercise as a way to address your fibromyalgia symptoms? Ironically, regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage your fibromyalgia pain, stiffness and soreness.
When it comes to addressing chronic pain, adding a workout to your daily routine could help you feel better, and even offer long-term relief. At the same time, research showed that 12 weeks of moderate aerobic training could improve not just your pain, but also your overall wellbeing. Exercise releases happy hormones, which makes you feel better overall, and boosts your moods.
Exercise Tips to Ease Your Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Start with walking. Take 10-minute walks, and then eventually increase your time up to 30 minutes per day.
- Splash around some. Consider aquatic exercises in a heated pool to help you ease your pain symptoms.
- Reach for the sky. Add stretching exercises into your routine will wake up your tired and stiff muscles.
- Pick it up. Lifting lights weights can reduce your pain and improve your overall wellbeing.
- Clean up around the house. Doing household chores is a great way to get some exercise if you don’t have time to visit the gym or if the weather is too bad to walk around the park.
- Look on television, online or in the app store. Find a workout that is fun for you, so you can make sure you stick with it.
- Be cautious. Build up time and intensity slowly. Don’t rush.
- Dance like no one’s watching. Play some music and move your body any way you can. Don’t worry about how you look – dancing is effective for warming your muscles, and soothing both your mind and body.
More importantly, don’t push yourself too hard. If you feel that you have reached your threshold, stop, get some rest, and resume again once your body has fully recovered.
16. Professional Help: What to Do When Things Get Out of Hand
Let’s say you tried all these tips and asked your doctor to change your medications, since your libido is not cooperating with your plans. Despite following these techniques, what should you do when fibromyalgia still finds a way to ruin the mood and your sex life?
In this case, you might want to consider asking for professional help. Talk to your doctor to find ways to ease your pain and other symptoms. Consider personal or couples counseling, too. A qualified sex therapist can offer solutions to help bring back the spark inside your bedroom.
Here is something you should remember: be prepared to discuss your sex life and your condition. A sex therapist needs to know the ins and outs of your relationship to be able to make a diagnosis, and offer a realistic and effective treatment. You and your partner can also discuss any sexual issues and concerns, so you can finally find a solution to your problems.
17. Your Most Important Sex Tip: Making the Most Out of Your Situation
You might say it is hard to enjoy sex and get pleasure from it, considering the pain you are going through. That’s true. This is why there are techniques to prepare your heart, your mind and your body and get them all in the mood.
Once your entire system connects, remember the following tricks to keep the fire burning inside your bedroom:
- Relax and enjoy the moment. Focus on your pleasure instead of how many times you and your man have sex.
- Listen and stay in touch with your body. Your body will send you various cues telling you when you are feeling great, not-so-good, or in pain.
- Remind yourself that sex is good therapy. Use it as a means to communicate and maintain a strong connection with your partner, not a chore.
- Always be positive. Negative thoughts and emotions will only drag you down into an endless spiral of more pain and depression. Talk it out with your partner and find ways to keep your spirits up.
Important Factors to Consider
The bottom line is, don’t let fibromyalgia ruin your sex life and also your relationship because of intimacy issues. Until they come up with a cure for fibromyalgia, make sure to take note of these 17 tips to make your fibromyalgia symptoms more manageable.
Once everything is in order and you feel less pain all over your body, your sex life will follow. Just take it easy and don’t rush things. With the proper techniques and the right timing, you can say hello to your sex life again.