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Sex & Lupus

Having Lupus or having a partner with Lupus can greatly affect your sex life.  Below are the ways that Lupus can affect your sex life and some tips on how to deal with the changes.

Joint and/or muscle pain can make sex painful or uncomfortable. 

Fatigue can make sex just not possible.

Depression and chronic pain can reduce sex drive or cause erectile dysfunction (ED).

Medications used to treat Lupus can cause reduced libido.

Medications used to treat Lupus can cause vaginal dryness.

Medications used to treat Lupus can cause erectile dysfunction (ED).

Lupus and medications can cause dryness in the mouth and vagina.

Skin rashes can make sex painful or uncomfortable. 

Lupus and medications can cause many physical changes such as rashes, scars, weight gain or loss, hair loss, etc.  These changes can make a person feel ugly, uncomfortable, not themselves, insecure, unwanted, etc.  It can also make some partners attraction change.

Lupus and the medications used to treat it can cause hormonal imbalances that effect libido. 

Lupus sufferers can sometimes get ulcers in the mouth or vagina that can cause pain.  Lupus rashes and ulcers are not transmittable to your partner.

Pregnancy should be carefully planned for, due to increased risk. more...

Partners can feel insecure, rejected, and frustrated by the reduced amount of sex.

Partners can feel confused on when it is and isn't ok to initiate sex.

Lupus sufferers, especially ones on immunosuppressive drugs, are more susceptible to Herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases. 


Take advantage of the times when you are feeling your best.

Try a warm bath or hot tub before hand to relax your muscles and your mind.

Use lubricant for dryness or vaginal ulcers.

Monitor hormone levels and if needed talk to your doctor about supplementation. 

Talk to your doctor/gynecologist about medical solutions to low libido.

Always use protection to prevent STDs and unplanned pregnancy.

Treating the Lupus and minimizing flares and pain is always helpful.

Try different positions that may reduce stress and pain on muscles and joints.

Try cuddling and other ways of being intimate to substitute when intercourse is not possible.

Try different times of the day. 

Talk to your doctor about which medications you are on that may affect your libido and if it is possible to switch to something without that effect.

Try gentle massage to relax your muscles and your mind.

Do not push the issue.  If your partner is in pain, tired or just not in the mood, pushing them will only make them feel bad, stressed, and that will make it longer before they are ready.  You will end up feeling more frustrated and you may get into a fight.  Instead, offer to rub their feet or do something that will help them relax and rest so that perhaps the next time you will be more successful.

Keep trying.  It can be easy to fall into a pattern of just not trying.  Without pushing keep trying.

Partners will have to understand that things are different when your partner has Lupus and they should reassure the patient that the relationship is solid even though there may be changes.

Remind yourselves that this may not be forever.  One never knows what the future holds, a remission could be right around the corner.

Keep the lines of communication wide open.  Sex can be a difficult topic to discuss, however to avoid hurt feelings, confusion and frustration, have frank, up front discussions about all things sexual.  Do not let frustration or insecurity fester.

Building a strong relationship is very important so that when there are "dry spells" or problems, you have a good relationship to get you through it.

Partners should reassure the Lupus sufferer that they are still attractive no matter what.

Consider couples therapy if you are having trouble communicating or working out your sexual issues.


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