What used to be something that came naturally, more or less, now requires greater intentionallity. Chronic pain and fatigue can be a real downer in our continued pursuit of a healthy sexual relationship. Even though we want to be engaged emotionally, fatigue and brain fog can make it seem like we’re climbing Mount Everest.
Pain, fatigue, and some medications and/or their side effects can diminish sexual desire and perhaps satisfaction. Also, if our partner is acting as our caregiver, it can be challenging to relate as a couple. Setting aside some time to listen to some music, perhaps light candles, and generally set a mood for intimacy to occur can be helpful. As much as we’d like our sex life to be spontaneous, it’s not necessarily to be anymore.
I think we could all use some variety and playfulness in our relationships. It takes the stress off “performance.” Maybe using different scented massage oils or lotions (just not something strong if your partner is sensitive to smells), the above mentioned candles, and plenty of time to set the mood is what we might need. The end goal is what you mutually decide on. No pressure to perform in a certain manner also helps build emotional intimacy, and helps to deepen your bond.
Open and honest communication with your partner is key. Share your fears and concerns with one another. Share your expectations and limitations. If you are unable to complete the sexual activity, there needs to be a level of understanding and acceptance. This is just one more area of our new normal that needs some adjusting to.
Our weight gain or loss, loss of hair, decreased libido, inability to maintain certain physical positions all combine to create a seemingly hopeless situation. Recognize that you’re doing the best you can and give yourself a break!
Some of the many benefits of sex, according to Dr. Pellegrino, is how it “increases our body’s endorphins; it improves blood flow, removes toxins from cells, and boosts our immune system; it results in stretching and then relaxation of our muscles; it reduces stress; and it re-connects us emotionally and intimately.”
No need to rush things, but if this is something that’s been missing from your relationship, begin to slowly restore this vital part of your relationship.