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There are other ways to make love and to have your body respond to sexual stimulation besides intercourse. Some of them might be familiar to you, while others may be less so, but all of them are normal, natural expressions, of human sexuality. These alternatives can be helpful when you’re having arthritis pain.
You don’t have to have penetration to have sensation, pleasure and satisfaction. Here is a lesson in stimulation for both men and women. The end of the penis is its most sensitive part and the clitoris and opening to the vagina are far more sensitive than the interior of the vagina. A misconception among many men is that an erection and penetration of the vagina is necessary to please his partner. This isn’t necessarily true. There are many women who have greater satisfaction through genital stimulation, whether it’s manual or oral.
Women can have problems with decreased lubrication, causing the vagina to be dry, and it can make having intercourse uncomfortable. The decreased lubrication can be caused by certain medications, by some diseases like lupus, scleroderma and Sjogren’s syndrome, or can be a natural change due to aging. Using a vaginal lubricant will make it easier in any position. A word of caution though, petroleum jelly products and other oily substances are not recommended because they may carry germs which could cause infection. It’s best to use a germ free lubricant, such as K-Y jelly or Steri-Lube, and these are available without a prescription.
There will be times when you’re not able to have sexual intercourse in the usual way, but you can still enjoy your sexuality. There are other ways to express your affection and bring sexual enjoyment and excite to the body.
There are times when sexual intercourse is not possible because of pain, but you and your partner can still enjoy lovemaking. Using your hands to caress, manual sex, can be a satisfying alternative to sexual intercourse as well as fondling , stroking the genitals, the breast, and all areas of sensitivity, can excite both of you to orgasm and fulfillment as complete as having intercourse. You might enjoy your orgasms together , or take turns. You can embrace and gently caress your loved one as he or she stimulates his or her own genitals to climax when your hands are swollen and sore. Your warmth , caring, and reassuring embrace will convey completely the love you want to give.
A vibrator is another alternative when your hands are hurting. It can be the kind of vibrator found in small appliance departments that’s used for light massage of the neck or face. Another type is the tube-shaped vibrator, which is lighter and easier to handle, and are available at some stores or through mail order.
If you move the vibrator gently over the sensitive areas of your partner’s body, especially against the underside of the penis or clitoris, it will quickly bring about sexual pleasure. A word of caution though, it is possible that the vibrator may irritate the genitals if it’s used often or too long. You might want to lubricate it with a sterile jelly, or use a clean handkerchief between the vibrator and the area to be stimulated. If you have skin that’s thin and dry or is tender, you shouldn’t use this device often, if at all.
Oral sex is the use of the tongue and mouth directly on the genitals to bring pleasure to your partner. It’s an approach to sexual fulfillment which can be very stimulating.
Even with your best efforts, there’s going to be times when you have no interest in sex or you can’t become sexually aroused and you still want to provide for the needs of your partner. The alternative methods suggested here may be what you’re looking for. As you learn more about what your partner enjoys, you’ll gain the confidence to bring pleasure and fulfillment to him or her.
Masturbation, or self – stimulation, is another very common, healthy, and satisfying form of sexual activity. It provides valuable reinforcement and reassurance about your own personal sexuality, and it can also increase responsiveness during intercourse.
When you prepare for this sexual experience make sure you have privacy and you might want to create an atmosphere by listening to soft music just as you might with a partner, or by reading erotic material or looking at erotic pictures or a movie. You will want to make sure that you are rested and that you have taken your pain medication ahead of time so that you will be more comfortable. Self – stimulation is done by stroking or rubbing the sensitive areas of your body. If your fingers are swollen or painful because of your arthritis, you can use a vibrator.
Your attitude about your sexual relationships is important. Some people look at sex as a duty, while others look at it as if it were a gift. The truth is that it’s probably somewhere between for most of us. If you have emotional complications that come up between you and your partner, like resentment, guilt, or any other strongly negative feelings related to your physical relationship, you might want to consider talking to a counselor. You can also talk to your doctor about the effects of your arthritis and it’s treatment on your sexual relations.
My own experience with arthritis and sex
My husband is experiencing resentment, and guilt and he also blames me. He gets it sometimes and then there are those times, mostly when he is drinking, that he says the most hurtful things to me about sex. Things like, how repulsive I am, how disgusting I am, how he never wants to have sex with me ever, how he wants someone who is younger and doesn’t have any health issues. Then in the next breath he will tell me how much he wants to have sex with me, no emotions though, just sex. I am learning to disassociate myself from him when he starts to say those things and I never try to defend myself because in the past it’s done nothing but make it worse. It didn’t just start, it’s been going on for over 12 years. I found these suggestions too late to work for me but if you are in the same situation or something similar, you will want to consider giving them a try.