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What to know about Fibromyalgia and Sex

By HERWriter
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tips-for-sex-and-fibromyalgia iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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
• fatigue
• 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.

Add a Comment5 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I too was hoping for some helpful information but alas it is not here. This subject has become a serious issue between me and my husband of 20 years. While I have only been diagnosed with FMS for about 3 years, I believe I may have been suffering with it for much longer. Thank you to the person who commented on March 7th with the website. I look forward to seeing what she has to say.

May 9, 2012 - 9:30pm
EmpowHER Guest

I agree with the comments here! For one, standing when you have fibro is not enjoyable to begin with. Taking a holiday from the meds that I am on would cause serious withdrawal which would make me not want to be touched even more and would make it so I couldnt sleep so I would be exhausted. I was looking forward to this being helpful because this is a serious problem in my relationship but it wasnt. Luckily I have a very understanding partner that deals with the fact that I just cant at this time and havent for almost 2 years :(

April 18, 2012 - 11:54am
EmpowHER Guest

Making love stood up - ermmmmmmmmmmm is that really possible when your hips are playing up ?? Which idiot wrote this ?? They need a good talking to !!!!

March 9, 2012 - 11:33am
EmpowHER Guest

If you are looking for more info on the subject you should check out chronicbabe.com . It has tons of well written articles.

March 7, 2012 - 7:33am
EmpowHER Guest

Who wrote this? The information could not have come from the NFA! Obviously someone who is not on the long list of medications that a person with Fibro has to take. I have Fibro/CFS, and if I took a "drug holiday", it would we an absolute nightmare for my fiance! I would be in so much pain and I would be going through the most intense flare....seriously? A drug holiday??

It would be nice to actually get some advice on these topics that us Fibromites take very seriously from people who have been there, first hand and can explain it from an experienced point of view.

Also, any doctor who is experienced with Fibro patients would know better than to tell them to go off their meds for a few days here and there. That is so hard on the system for us. We can't handle the withdrawl over and over, it sets off flares.

I don't know who's libido can just "come back to normal" after being off meds for a few days...can you please find real doctors or people with experience to write advice for issues such as these?

March 6, 2012 - 8:50pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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