According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, more than ten million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia and of those, more than 80 percent are women.
Here is some background on fibromyalgia. The NFA website states ʺfibromyalgia (pronounced fy-bro-my-AL-ja) is a common and complex chronic pain disorder that affects people physically, mentally and socially. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome rather than a disease. Unlike a disease, which is a medical condition with a specific cause or causes and recognizable signs and symptoms, a syndrome is a collection of signs, symptoms, and medical problems that tend to occur together but are not related to a specific, identifiable cause.ʺ
Fibromyalgia is also known as fibromyalgia syndrome, fibromyositis and fibrositis. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
• chronic widespread pain
• multiple tender points
• abnormal pain processing
• sleep disturbances
• psychological distress
For many with fibromyalgia, sex may be one of the last things on their mind. Their libido may be decreased due to medications, they are not mentally prepared for intimacy (fear of pain during sex) or they may be too exhausted to initiate sex.
According to Marline Emmal, author of Fibromyalgia and Female Sexuality, "Sexual activity is good for fibromyalgia pain. Rather than fibromyalgia pain making you shy away from sex, you should embrace it, because it’s one of the best treatments. It increases the happy hormones in your brain; they in turn reduce your pain level."
The NFA offers these great tips regarding sex and fibromyalgia:
• Talk to your partner about your pain points. Have the conversation in a neutral location versus the bedroom. Discuss your pain points, but also discuss a gentle touch technique of love-making.
Also, discuss and develop a safe word. This is a word you say during sex if you experience too much pain during sex. Once you say this word, you and your partner stop having sex immediately. This is a great tip to be creative and have fun with your partner.
• Ease into your intimate sexual encounter. Take a hot bath to soothe your aches and pains. K-Y Jelly may also be helpful.