Living with Chronic Pain
6 Ways to Maintain Intimacy While Dealing With Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can interfere with sexual intimacy in a relationship — the pain itself can be a deterrent, medication side effects may interfere, or comorbid mood disorders (anxiety or depression) may be a contributing factor. A good pain management plan should include ways to cultivate or preserve intimacy and sexual health.
Here are six helpful tips to maintain intimacy while dealing with chronic pain:
- Consulting a health care provider
Sexual intimacy can be affected directly by pain levels or by the use of certain medications to treat pain. Some medications can affect blood flow and hormones, affecting libido. Consulting a health care provider to adjust medication dosage to reduce pain levels can help if pain is preventing intimacy. A health care provider may also recommend another medication with less side effects on the libido.
Physical intimacy is more than sexual intercourse. Cuddling, giving one another a massage, or the simple act of hugging can help maintain intimacy with a partner. Cuddling is a great way to promote physical intimacy in a comforting way.
- Enjoying emotional intimacy
Emotional intimacy is just as important as physical intimacy. Spending time together while connecting at a deeper spiritual level is at the heart of emotional intimacy. Sharing a candlelit dinner, taking a bath together, or enjoying a leisurely stroll can help keep emotional intimacy alive.
- Show kindness
A kind gesture goes a long way. Leaving notes around the house for a partner thanking them for the things they do shows appreciation and helps to reestablish an intimate connection.
- Communicating about frustrations
Honest communication helps to maintain intimacy. If frustrations arise, sharing them with a partner helps foster a deeper, closer relationship.
- Sharing common interests
Going on adventures with a partner is a great way to connect. It also brings a couple closer together. Throwing a blanket and a picnic basket in the car and exploring nature can help distract from the pain.