You and your partner have the opportunity to look at the challenges AS poses as a way to creatively explore sex. Here are some actions you can take to help rekindle sexual enjoyment:
- Treat AS. First of all, you’ll feel best if your ankylosing spondylitis is well-managed. Talk with your doctor about medications that can reduce pain and stiffness.
- Focus on your partner. Sex is not limited to mutually satisfying intercourse. There will be times when you’re not feeling aroused, but it’s still appropriate to enjoy touching, massaging, and giving pleasure to your partner through oral sex or by using sex toys. Likewise, there may be times when your partner just wants to please you.
- Touch and connect. Pain, disability, and challenges to your sense of self can all result in feeling disconnected from your partner. Tepper advocates intimate touching, holding and caressing in a position that is comfortable without necessarily aiming toward intercourse or orgasm.
- Identify your best time of day. “All of us have times when we have the most energy,” Tepper says. If you wake up with unsexy stiffness, morning sex might not be an option. Share this information with your partner so that he or she isn’t guessing about when the time is right. “Sex as spontaneous is something of a fantasy,” he says.
- Stay active. Staying physically active keeps your whole body ready for sex. Light exercise could be a good warm-up. If it’s comfortable for you, try working out with your partner, taking a shower, and then engaging in sex.
- Try standing or kneeling. Experiment with a variety of positioning options. Tepper’s website includes videos that may inspire you. For example, men with lower back pain might enjoy sex (vaginal and oral) more if they are standing or kneeling instead of lying flat. One option is for the man to stand at the base of the bed and his partner to use cushions to raise her pelvic area to the appropriate height.
- Try sitting. Another option is for the person with ankylosing spondylitis to sit in a chair with firm, comfortable lower back support. Hold your partner on your lap, either facing you or facing away.
- Use cushions. There are a number of foam bolsters designed specifically to help people be more comfortable having sex. Other options include inflatable pillows or cushions that allow you to control the pressure, bean bag chairs and regular bed pillows ranging from body pillows to small pillow rolls that can help provide the right amount of support for sore joints.
- Consider specially designed furniture. Items such as swings and unique chairs not only support one or both of you but also assist with thrusting. A sex therapist can help you decide whether this kind of investment is right for you.
- Use lubrication. Vaginal dryness increases as women age, and lubricants can help ease this lovemaking challenge.
- Create a sensual mood. “I am a big believer in atmosphere,” Tepper says. Music, candles, scented oils, and videos you both enjoy can help make sex play more fun.
- Take a soak. A hot tub or bathtub for two may be another location for sex. “The warm water could be soothing,” Tepper says.
- Play with toys. Vibrators can help both partners enjoy sex. There are many styles available — just shopping together can be sexually exciting.
- Do some research. Tepper’s website includes a number of short videos that demonstrate positions for people with disabilities. He also recommends the book “The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability” as a resource.
Source Everyday Health