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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Feel Sexy/Have Sex with Gastroparesis or a Chronic Illness

I know that if you have a chronic illness, like gastroparesis, it can be difficult on you and your partner's sex life. I actually had to stop in the middle of sex to vomit into a bucket. That kills the mood. If you have a feeding tube, it might be worse. Where do you put your tube? How do you feel sexy when you feel ill all of the time? What can you do about it? I've researched some great sources that may help you with your sex life, even if you have a chronic illness. If you have any tips, please send them my way and I'll edit this blog entry and credit you with the information. You can email me at: emilysstomach[at]gmail.com.



Taken from: http://www.healthline.com/hlcmsresource/images/slideshow/Ways-Sex-Helps-You-Live-Longer/278x328_Ways_Sex_Helps_You_Live_Longer_1.jpg




According to But You Don't Look Sick:

1. Communicate- Be open and honest with your sexual partner. Share with him or her your concerns and fears. Listen openly to their concerns as well, and see if the both of you can come up with a resolution that can satisfy equally.

2. Plan ahead- Chronic illness makes spontaneity very difficult and can create a looming fear of not being able to perform on the spot. My husband and I have “date nights.” This is just another way we circumvent “bad timing.” You can prepare by taking warm baths with Epsom Salt or take a few over-the-counter pain pills to reduce stiffness and aches. Perhaps throw a light massage in the mix! See if your partner can pitch in more that day with the housework or with the kids. Planning ahead may not make up for spontaneity, but it does add to anticipation!

3. Learn to accept your body- Accepting how your body looks and feels is not only essential to maintaining a healthy identity, it will also reduce the anxiety of having an intimate encounter. You may have a few more lumps and bumps, and extra weight which may not be acceptable for you, but you must realize that not accepting yourself is communicated in your intimate relationships. If you are uncomfortable with you, it makes it equally hard for your partner to be comfortable. Realize that you are doing the best you can with what you have, so give yourself a break!

4. Know the side effects of your medications- The side effects to many medications, can reek havoc on the body, and it would be wise on your part to read your prescription bottles carefully. Some of the side effects listed on your prescriptions may not relate directly to sexual performance, but pay attention to side effects that read: dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, mood swings and dryness, since these symptoms will effect you even during your intimate times, so it’s best to prepare. You may need to use lubricants, change sexual positions, or consult your physician (in the case of impotency or soreness). It’s always best to be educated! For people like us, who live with a chronic illness, we may need to activate a bit more patience and a whole lot of creativity when it comes to our “bedroom business”, but if there is a will, there is a way! You deserve intimacy and a healthy sex life like everyone else, and so does your partner. - See more at: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/guest-writers/breaking-the-ice-on-sex-intimacy-chronic-illness/#sthash.U7ZTiwtn.dpuf


Family Doctor almost says the same things:


How can a chronic illness affect my sex life?


A chronic illness is a health problem that you have over a long period of time, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis or cancer.

People who have a chronic illness can feel tired and depressed a lot of the time. They may have pain, stiffness or trouble sleeping. They may need medicines or other treatments that can affect their sex life. They may have a surgery that changes how their body looks. As a result, they may feel less interested in sex, or they may not enjoy sex like they used to.

Suggestions for keeping your sex life healthy if you have a chronic illness

Read about your illness. There are many self-help books that discuss sex and specific chronic illnesses. You can also join a support group to talk about your illness.


If you have a chronic health problem, the following might help you get ready for sexual activity:

Plan sexual activity for the time of day when you have the most energy and your health problem bothers you the least.
Be sure that you are rested and relaxed.
Wait at least 2 hours after you eat to have sex.
If you need pain medicine to feel better, take the medicine 30 minutes before sexual activity.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink, and avoid using tobacco in any form. Alcohol and tobacco can affect sexual function.


The following might help you maintain your sex life:

Hold hands, hug and touch your partner, even when you do not plan to have sex.
Use your senses to make sexual activity more enjoyable. For example, have satin sheets on the bed, light some scented candles or play music.
Tell your partner what you like and do not like. Listen to your partner's likes and dislikes.
Try different sexual positions to find positions that are comfortable for you and your partner, or use pillows for comfort.
Try personal lubricants (one brand name: K-Y Jelly) to help reduce discomfort with sexual intercourse.


Talking to your partner:

Even with the best of intentions and preparation, there may be times during your illness when you decide that you do not want to be sexually active. Talk to your partner about how you feel and why you feel that way. Talk about how you can help your partner deal with his or her feelings and interest in sexual activity.


Talking to your doctor:

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about your sex life. Your doctor may have some suggestions that can help.

Be sure to let your doctor know if you are feeling depressed or if you think that side effects from a medicine are affecting your sex life.

See more at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/sex-birth-control/sex-sexuality/chronic-illness-how-it-can-affect-your-sex-life.html


Taken from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0115/p347.html


According to SERC:


Suggestions for People with Chronic Illness


Illness, whether short term or chronic, will most likely affect sexuality in some way. There may be changes in how you feel about body image, sexual self‐esteem, and intimate relationships. How these are impacted is, in part, about your unique story. Your health care providers may not address these issues and it can be embarrassing to bring them up yourself. It can be difficult to bring this up with a partner, as well.

The following suggestions can help you deal openly with the problems that may come up as a result of chronic illness. They can also help you explore a variety of ways to continue enjoying yourself as a sexual person.


Remember that you are still a sexual person but might need to explore new ways to enjoy your sexuality.


Do not be discouraged! It will take time to unlearn old ways of thinking and acting.


Think about these questions: are you focused on performance rather than pleasure? Are you goal‐oriented rather than pleasure‐oriented? If so, it’s time for a change!


Remember that many people have sexual problems because of incorrect information and assumptions about the effect of their illness. Get the facts. Then figure out what actions you can take.


Talk with your physician about common sexual issues for people with your condition. If your primary clinician is unable to help, look further. A session or two with a sexuality counselor may be exactly what you need.


Realize that medications for chronic illness may affect sexual desire and response. Ask your physician about substituting or reducing a medication.


Talk with your partner about your feelings, your fears, and your desires. What used to seem like a natural, sexual progression may now need careful planning.


Plan for sexual activity when you and your partner are rested and not distracted.


Remember there are many pleasurable and satisfying sexual activities that do not involve intercourse.


If possible, join a support group and talk with others who have the same physical problems. Ask them what adjustments have helped them.


If you have vaginal dryness, try a lubricant. This problem – causing pain and distress for many women – is often relieved by lubricants from the local pharmacy.


Be adventurous: read books, browse the web, experiment with new sexual positions and sexual aids such as vibrators.


For more information, please visit:
http://www.serc.mb.ca/sexuality-relationships/sexuality-and-disabilities/suggestions-people-chronic-illness


As for sex with feeding tubes, I need to do a bit more research on that. I'll have to get back to you. But, these are just general points to help you with your sex life if you are chronically ill. If you have a feeding tube and could help me out with writing about it, I would greatly appreciate it.

If you want to read on how to feel sexy with chronic illness, please visit: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/daily-living-tips/how-to-feel-sexy-when-you-are-in-pain/

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