Living with chronic pain can feel as though it consumes your entire life. It’s difficult to do ordinary tasks without being reminded of your pain and discomfort, which means it’s easy for intimacy to slip away from you. There are many complex reasons why chronic pain can affect your love life. The most common reason tends to be that once you experience pain during sex, you fear doing it again, which creates a vicious cycle. It is difficult to get aroused if you associate sex with pain.
So how can you take back control over your life and start truly living again, instead of just surviving? Well, you can start by reminding yourself that you are a sexual being who deserves happiness and intimacy. Keeping a positive mindset is important during this journey. And remember, a better sex life is your goal. Don’t rush yourself. Consider the steps below as building blocks towards a happier and healthier sex life.
Communicate with Your Partner
A low sex drive can lead to feelings of embarrassment and guilt. If a lot of time has passed since you’ve been intimate with your partner, it can be hard to bring up the topic. Communicating with your partner is one of the first steps towards reigniting your fire. Sit down with your partner and explain your mindset, and that you’d like to rekindle the relationship.
Avoid asserting any kind of blame on yourself or your partner, stay positive and discuss what you’d like. For example, instead of saying, “You never want to spend time with me anymore,” or “my pain has destroyed our lives,” try saying, “I really love when we take the time to make a nice dinner together.” This approach will seem less like an already-failing task and more like an exciting new chapter in your life.
Talking with your partner is also a great opportunity to clarify misunderstandings. Your partner may think that you are no longer attracted to them rather than understanding that your pain prevents you from getting “in the mood.” Or maybe you thought your partner no longer has a sex drive. In reality he or she may be afraid to cause you more pain. Discussing these feelings together can help dissolve fears you have towards each other, and pave the way towards improved communication and intimacy.
Create Intimacy Without Sex
Before attempting to have sex again and risking falling back into the cycle discussed earlier, try some activities that will make you two feel close again. You can start with simple displays of affection, such as holding hands when you’re walking together, cuddling in bed before you go to sleep or while watching TV, and kissing each other before you leave for work and when you get home. These signs of affection can be easily forgotten when you’ve been together for a long time, or when you’re swept up by the bustle of daily life, but these actions can help you to quickly regain a feeling of intimacy.
Next, you can start planning dates and activities that will help you and your partner bond and get comfortable with each other again. You may want to try something you used to do together that you haven’t done in a while. This could be going to a nice dim-lit dinner, taking a short walk while the sun sets or listening to music you both like. If you are getting along well and would like to take it a step further, you can try activities that could lead to arousal. Get into the hot tub together at night or set up a personal massage parlor in your bedroom by dimming the lights, lighting candles and using body oil while giving each other gentle massages. Coincidently, these actions can also help reduce your pain!