Ac(sex)sible Sex

By

Ac(sex)sible Sex
Sex Tips For People with Disabilities and Chronic Conditions

A disability or chronic condition, whether it results in muscle weakness, pain, paralysis, or loss of sensation doesn’t necessarily have to cripple your sex life. Some impairments will directly affect your sexual functioning in a negative way, but fortunately there are treatments available. Others will indirectly affect your sexual life by throwing a monkey wrench into your usual sexual routine or messing with your head. Many will do both. As an expert on sex and disability and in my role as a sexuality educator, sexual counselor and  sex coach I'm always promoting communication, creativity, and adaptive equipment as key ingredients in creating accessible sex. 

For men, talk to your doctor. Disability keeping you down? Whether the cause is neurological, vascular, or medication side effects, there are at least a handful of solutions for erectile dysfunction. These include oral medications, vacuum pumps, constriction devices (otherwise known as cock rings), penile injections, urethral suppositories, and if all else fails, surgical implants. While you’re at it, ask about the sexual side effects of the medicine you are taking and if there are any adjustments that can be safely made. If erection is your goal, no problem.

For women, talk to your doctor. Feeling all dried up? A disability or chronic condition, or the related treatments, can interfere with vaginal lubrication and cause inflammation of vaginal tissue as a result of deterioration of the tissue. These problems can make intercourse painful and also results in vaginal itching, burning, frequent urination, or abnormal vaginal discharge. Treatments include over-the-counter vaginal lubricants applied before and during sexual activity, topical estrogen creams or tablets, estrogen releasing vaginal ring, oral estrogen (HRT), and Replens (applied daily or at other regular intervals independent of sexual activity). Also, ask about the sexual side effects of the medicine you are taking and if there are any adjustments that can be safely made.

Schedule sexual activities when symptoms are least problematic and energy is highest. The idea of scheduled sexual activities may not seem very sexy but it can result in more and better sex. When we’re tired, fatigued, or in a lot of pain is not the best time to go for it. Morning sex or an afternoon delight should be on the menu.

• Take pain-controlling or antispasmodic medications prior to sexual activity. Timing is everything. While spontaneous sex can be great, in practice few of us have that luxury, except perhaps on vacation. As long as we’re planning, take any medication for pain or spasticity well enough in advance, approximately 30 minutes, so that the full benefits kicked in before you get physical. Taking the edge off the pain and spasticity leaves more room for pleasure.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Mitchell Tepper

Author

Mitchell S. Tepper, PhD, MPH
mitchelltepper.com
Sexologist
AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator and Counselor

Location: Atlanta, GA
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Chronic Pain/Disability or Illness, Sexuality
Other Articles/News by Dr. Mitchell Tepper:

THE SESSIONS: 10 Things You Can Learn From a Sex Surrogate

By

THE SESSIONS, starring Helen Hunt (Cheryl Cohen Greene), John Hawkes (Mark O'Brien) and William H. Macy (Father Brendan) is a movie based on the real life story of Mark O’Brien. At the ripe age of 38 and still a virgin, O’Brien, paralyzed from the neck down and living in an iron lung since a childhood bout with polio, hired a sex surrogate to ... Read more

THE SESSIONS: 10 Things You Can Learn From a Sex Surrogate

By

THE SESSIONS, starring Helen Hunt (Cheryl Cohen Greene), John Hawkes (Mark O'Brien) and William H. Macy (Father Brendan) is a movie based on the real life story of Mark O’Brien. At the ripe age of 38 and still a virgin, O’Brien, paralyzed from the neck down and living in an iron lung since a childhood bout with polio, hired a sex surrogate to ... Read more

THE SESSIONS: Made in the Image of God

By

The Oscar contender, THE SESSIONS, starring Helen Hunt (Cheryl Cohen Greene), John Hawkes (Mark O'Brien) and William H. Macy (Father Brendan) deals head on with human sexuality and disability in all their complexities. The movie tells the story of Mark O'Brien, a 38-year-old Catholic virgin who has spent most of his life in an iron lung as a consequence ... Read more

See More

GET MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS IN YOUR INBOX!

Sign up for our daily email and get the stories everyone is talking about.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

FROM AROUND THE WEB