Can I have a normal sex life with lupus?
Having sex may feel different when you have lupus — but many people with lupus find that they can have a safe and satisfying sex life.
How can I make sex more comfortable?
Some lupus-related problems can make sex uncomfortable, including:
- Joint pain
- Mouth sores
- Not having enough vaginal lubrication (wetness)
- Being very tired or not having a lot of energy
But there are things you can do to make sex more comfortable. You can:
- Take a warm shower or bath to relax your muscles
- Do Kegel exercises — this can increase blood flow to the area around your genitals and help you feel aroused
- Spend plenty of time on foreplay before sex
- Try different positions or make physical adjustments, like using pillows for support
- Use lubricant (lube)
If you try these strategies and sex is still uncomfortable or painful, talk with your doctor. They can check for medical conditions that might be causing problems and suggest medicines that may help like anti-inflammatories.
Pay attention to your emotions, too
Lupus can change how you feel about yourself and about sex. For example, you may feel less desirable because lupus or lupus treatments change the way you look — whether it’s rashes, weight gain, hair loss, or anything else.
It can be hard to share these feelings with your partner — but being on the same page helps make sure you both have a good time.
How do I talk to my partner about sex?
If you’ve having any discomfort or pain during sex, it’s important to tell your partner about it. Use these tips to communicate with your partner about how you feel and what you want:
- Use “I” statements. Tell your partner what you enjoy and what you don’t. Try “I” statements like: “I like it when we…” or “I feel some pain when…”
- Be open. Talk with your partner about how you’re feeling, both physically and emotionally.
- Plan ahead. Picking a time and place for intimacy may not seem romantic, but being prepared can actually make things go a lot smoother — and a lot more enjoyable as a result.
Talking about sex can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to it. If you’re having trouble communicating with your partner, consider seeing a therapist. They can offer strategies that may help.
What about birth control?
Making a birth control plan is an important part of having sex. Birth control can help you prevent an unplanned pregnancy — and there are lots of safe and effective birth control options for people with lupus. Your doctors can help you find a method that works for you.
Our health educators are available to answer your questions and give you the help you need.