This article has been written by my lovely friend Libby. You may recognise her from her previous article which focussed on sex – you can read it here.
How to feel sexy with a chronic illness? Yes it’s possible!
Hello again, it’s Libby talking about sex again. I feel like sex is such an important topic to me, particularly as I know how scared and put off people with chronic illness can feel when you have a chronic illness.
Quite often you’re panicking before you’ve even started doing anything – you know there’s a high chance that it’s going to hurt and you know that having that mindset will just make it worse but you’re thinking it anyway.
So a week or so a go I ran a poll on my Instagram @myendodiary_ to see what we all thought about sex with a chronic illness and here’s how it went:
Is your sex life effected by your illness?
89% voted yes, 11% voted no – quite a scary statistic.
Do you do other sexual things instead of sex?
82% voted yes, 18% voted no – this gives me a little hope!
Is sexy underwear a thing in your home/relationship?
81% voted yes, 19% voted no – this was great to see, as I know that going to the effort of sexy underwear is sometimes using more energy than you’ve got.
If you are single, are you sexually active (because of your illness)?
33% voted yes, 67% voted no – that’s a whole lot of single ladies not having sex because of their illness. So, from this I then asked why my followers were not having sex or what they do to have sexual intimacy when intercourse is not possible. Below are the answers I received;
‘Foreplay. I struggle with vaginal penetration at times so foreplay works for us’
‘Touching and cuddling’
‘We just spend a lot of quality time together even just watching films’
‘Oral sex and foreplay’
‘Hell yeah! Having sex when single with a chronic illness is hard! It’s hard to trust whether someone will respect your bodies boundaries’
Last of all I asked what makes sex easier/more approachable?
‘Wear lingerie and put a bit of makeup on’
‘I do my makeup and hair. It’s not much but it helps me when I feel down about myself’
‘Nice underwear, do my hair and makeup too if I can’
‘Sometimes I’ll do makeup really nicely or wear cute underwear. It’s the little things’
It was pretty clear after collecting all of the information that my followers gave that feeling sexy isn’t easy with a chronic illness, but it’s the little things that can really help us when it comes down to it. So here are some tips I’ve put together;
Sexy lingerie – when endo belly is in full swing, the bags under your eyes are getting worse and your period is due you might not feel sexy but it’s amazing what a little bit of lace can do.
Foreplay – as I mentioned in my last blog post about painful sex, foreplay, at least 30 minutes of it, is very important and when you’re taking the time to really appreciate and explore each other’s bodies this can be incredibly empowering.
Spending alone time together – no sex involved in this one but it’s amazing what some quality time doing things you enjoy together can do for your relationship, it’s very important to keep that bond strong and give each other attention.
Oral sex – this is a great way to feel super intimate with your partner if vaginal penetration is a big no for you with it being too painful, and also to orgasm which helps some of us with our pain. Win win.
Doing your hair and makeup – personally I don’t wear makeup (like ever) just a little mascara and lippy if it’s a special occasion but a huge response to my Instagram polls and Q&A’s show that it makes a lot of you feel really good about yourselves and gives you that confidence.
So all in all, there’s lots of things to try to give yourself that confidence boost and make your sex like that little bit easier but just take it slowly, relax and only do what feels good for you.
Libby works in retail and has been fighting to get her Endometriosis treated. She’s passionate about raising awareness and helping others who are going through similar situations. You can find her Instagram account below;