Instead of being a glorious whirlwind of passionate kisses and mind blowing orgasms, when living with a chronic illness such as Parkinson's, sex unfortunately can be considered as yet another physical activity... we have to worry about!
My toes and legs stiffen from the uncontrollable muscle spasms; and forget about spontaneity, I can be exhausted one minute and achy the next. But in all seriousness, sex is just another example of the challenges many of us face as we struggle to live with a chronic condition. All of those romantic notions of being swept off your feet, or in the case of men, carrying her into the moonlight, become ludicrous.
We have real life obstacles to deal with, in maintaining our physical care and our emotional stability- like fatigue, achiness, impotency, shame, guilt and self-consciousness. And we must not forget, there is the side effects of our medications?!... Weight gain or loss, hair loss, low sex drive and also increased sex drive. Increased sex drive can cause problems just as much, if not more, in a relationship especially if ones behaviour becomes extremely compulsive - in which case could have devastating affects on a relationship. Just as important, there are our partners that we also have to consider. They may not have the same physical and emotional struggles, and it can cause a serious riff in relationships if the topic of sex is not handled with care.
I've found that communication is so important. Being open and honest with your partner and sharing with him or her your concerns and fears really does help, so does listening openly to their concerns. Chronic illness makes spontaneity very difficult and can create a looming fear of not being able to perform on the spot.
Another way to circumvent "bad timing" is to prepare ourselves by taking warm baths with or take a few over-the-counter pain pills to try and help with aches and pains. Perhaps throw a light massage in the mix with some aromatherapy oils and romantic candles! Get your partner to help with the housework or with the kids so you don't feel so fatigued. Planning ahead may not make up for spontaneity, but it does add to anticipation!
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, like me, have a few more lumps and bumps, and extra weight which may not be acceptable for you, but we have to realize that not accepting yourself is communicated during intimate relationships. If you are uncomfortable with you, it makes it equally hard for your partner to be comfortable. I suppose you just have to accept that you're doing the best you can with what you have, so give yourself a break!
I've found it helps to try and time sex when your medication is working at its best. Trying new sexual positions helps and is good fun too.
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 the well known saying is -where there is a will, there is a way!
I was going to sign off with a blushing smiley, but I changed my mind because after all, sex and intimacy is part of a healthy relationship