Too often, people with chronic illnesses feel like we’re lucky to have whatever we get in life. We’re lucky to have a job, no matter how good or bad. We’re lucky to have a spouse, no matter how good or bad. We’re lucky to have friends, no matter how good or bad. But we deserve more than that. We deserve the best! And that’s true for sex partners, too.
I haven’t seen my sex buddy, D, in two very long weeks. There I was, feeling horny today, when I started to question whether I’m physically up to seeing him at all this week. After all, this recent downturn has been really bad, and every bit of activity makes it worse. I’ve written before about how sex can make me feel better, but is it worth trying? Then I remembered just how awesome D is, and I thought about how lucky I am. That made me realize that while I’m definitely lucky to have him in my life, and I shouldn’t take him for granted, I also should never settle for anything less. And neither should you.
Somehow, D has never been phased by my health stuff. I mean, I once crapped on him during sex and he just brushed it off and suggested we clean up together in the shower. Pretty awesome, right? Here are some other ways he’s completely wonderful about my health issues:
- When I feel especially bad, he does all the work, and never complains.
- When I’m in pain, he’s extra gentle.
- He’s careful about avoiding touching areas that he knows are extra sensitive, like my wrists and feet.
- He’s significantly larger than me and is always careful not to let his extra weight put too much pressure on any part of me that could hurt.
- We both like sex just a little rough, and when he pins me down, he’s careful to avoid areas that he knows are a problem. He’ll pin my forearms instead of my wrists, for example.
- When I wince, he always sees it and immediately asks how he can adjust things.
- When something is clearly difficult for me, he doesn’t push it. For example, last month he was lying on top of me and tried to pull my head/neck up to kiss him. Clearly my body was having none of it, so he just changed positions so I could stay flat on the bed.
- He respects my illness-related fears. Even if something doesn’t hurt, I might be scared that it will, so he avoids it.
- He pays attention to good hurt vs. bad hurt and respects both. Good hurt was when he was sucking on my breast and I responded with “Ow! That feels good!” and he kept going. Bad hurt was when I yelped and winced and yelled, “Ow!” and he immediately stopped and asked what was wrong and what he could do differently.
- When I need to switch positions at an inopportune time, he doesn’t say a word about it.
See what I mean? He’s awesome. Of course, it’s not all him. I have to do my part too.
I have to listen to my body and respect what it wants. I was young when the pain started, so I’ve never had sex without pain. That also means I’ve had a long time to learn how to adjust things. I may not be able to practice all of the techniques or positions I’ve read about, but I have found quite a few popular ones that I can do without pain. I am careful to pace myself. For example, I know that when I give a hand job, I can only go for so long with each hand before the pain gets too bad, so I’m careful to switch before I reach that point, and I always time the switch to be the least disruptive to him. I also position my body to have the right leverage for my arm without straining my neck. I pay attention to what works for him, and I find ways to improve on it that he enjoys and that don’t hurt me. And when pain does sneak in, I make an effort to not let it disrupt things. Like a few weeks ago, when I was just starting to orgasm, and it felt so good, and my body tensed up, and my toes curled, and… OH MY GOD! THAT HURTS! But I didn’t lose it. I relaxed my feet and uncurled my toes and felt the pain go away just enough, and I kept my head where it needed to be – in the orgasm. I could have let that spear of pain interrupt things, but I didn’t. Obviously that doesn’t work when the pain is at its worst, but so many times I’ve been able to ignore it or use it. And it’s always worth it! Of course, the most important thing I do for myself is communicating. I think that communication is always important during sex, but it’s extra important if you’re dealing with pain and other chronic issues. Tell your partner what’s likely to cause problems in advance, and stop him/her if there are problems in the middle. They won’t mind. And if they do, they don’t deserve you.
So you need to do your part too. You need to make sure you’re doing the best you can for your body. Communicate and respect your own needs. And make sure it’s not all about you – do nice things for your partner, too. Most of all, don’t put up with anyone who isn’t kind, respectful, and understanding. You deserve all of those things, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We’re sick. We have health problems. Fine. But we are still fine human beings to deserve to be treated as well as everyone else.