Living with Chronic Pain

10 Tips for Improving Sexual Pleasure Despite Chronic Pain


Sexual pleasure can be challenging for individuals with chronic pain. It can be difficult to experience pleasure during sexual intercourse if it increases chronic pain. Also, certain medications for chronic pain can affect an individual’s libido or ability to achieve orgasm. Fortunately, there are ways to improve sexual pleasure despite chronic pain.

Ten tips for improving sexual pleasure despite chronic pain include the following:

  1. Prioritize communication. Chronic pain can create issues such as low self-esteem or feeling undesirable, both of which can reduce sexual pleasure. The partner of an individual with chronic pain may be afraid of increasing their partner’s pain, which can contribute to issues with physical intimacy and sexual pleasure. Communicating fears, emotions, and desires can help ease stress about intimacy.
  2. Try different times of day. In some cases, chronic pain is worse in the evening; therefore, having intimate relations in the morning may be more pleasurable. In other cases, the opposite may be true.
  3. Plan ahead. Taking pain medication, using heat therapy, or gently stretching before sexual activity can help reduce pain and improve pleasure.
  4. Experiment with different positions. Some sexual positions may be more comfortable than others. Positions that put less pressure on painful areas are often best. Placing pillows under painful areas may also help.
  5. Experiment with mutual masturbation or oral sex. If traditional sexual intercourse is painful, mutual masturbation or oral sex may be preferable. These methods can be used as an alternative or in addition to traditional intercourse.
  6. Use lubricants. If lack of natural lubrication is an issue, lubricants can reduce pain associated with vaginal dryness.
  7. Try a vibrator or other sex toy. Vibrators and other sex toys may increase pleasure without requiring too much physical exertion.
  8. Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Both alcohol and tobacco impair sexual function, which can affect sexual pleasure. These substances should be limited or completely avoided.
  9. Talk to a medical professional. If failure to become aroused or reach orgasm is related to a specific medication, individuals can talk to their doctor about adjusting the dose or trying an alternative medication. Individual or couples therapy may also be beneficial.
  10. Be patient. It may take some time and experimentation to improve sexual pleasure despite chronic pain. Being patient, staying relaxed, and avoiding frustration when there are setbacks are all important parts of the process.
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