Baby it’s cold out there – Raynaud’s and sex

A Guide to Raynaud’s and Sex written by Ness

blue lips, raynuads awarenessRaynaud’s phenomenon is largely unknown, the amount of times I chat with someone and they haven’t heard of the condition is very common. With the weather changing and it being Raynaud’s awareness month I thought I’d write a post about how Raynaud’s can affect sex. Raynaud’s is a condition that causes body parts to become cold and often turn white, blue, grey, and red depending on what phase it’s going through at the time. Many believe it’s due to being unfit causing poor circulation, however, whilst this can be a contributing factor, a lot of the time it’s due to another underlying conditions such as a fault with the connective tissue. I have secondary Raynaud’s due to connective tissue issues, but autoimmune and auto-inflammatory can also be a cause for it. There are some who have primary Raynaud’s with no explanation, although, many researchers are now finding that there may be underlying genetic factors for many that in the past were overlooked.

The cold can be a triggering factor or simply a breeze in during the hottest summer can trigger it for some. Stress is another thing that plays a big part for many. When I’m stressed I’m blue, and it may be why people refer to depressed people as feeling blue a lot of the time. It can affect any body part, the most common being the hands and feet – this is why I own an extensive collection of leather gloves as even in the summer I’m pairing Victorian gloves with dresses, and leather ones for evening wear. I have rather extreme Raynaud’s that it’s a big part of my life even during heat waves. I can be teaching exercise classes and the brush of air from my arms will trigger it. I use to do Gothic modelling shoots without make up because during night time or winter shoots my lips and complexion would resemble that of the night walkers from Games of Thrones.

Now, you’re probably wondering how Raynaud’s affects sex? One of the main reason’s is that we need blood flow to engorge our erogenous zones upon stimulation so we get the feel-good sensations from foreplay that eventually lead to climax. If I’m cold I simply can’t orgasm. It’s a bit like a work-out, if you’re too cold you can not engage the right areas for working out and then you simply just don’t see results, if anything it leads to discomfort. If you look deeper into the workout analogy there are other factors regarding Raynaud’s and sex which are overlooked, because for many of us sex is almost like an Olympic sport. If you have Raynaud’s affecting an area, it’s not just the erogenous zone being affected, but it’s the muscles being affected too and nerves, and when these get cold they can cramp which can cause other issues which make sex tricky. As with anything, if an area goes into spasm how are you meant to relax into the moment and just enjoy yourself? Well sadly you’re not going to.

In the past few years I have spoken with couples about Raynaud’s and sex, and too have found that there were times when it interfered with my sex life. Here are the following interesting things I’ve found when it comes to Raynaud’s and sex:

Wear socks or stockings.

Whilst this study is rather old now, it is still relevant, Gert Holstege, M.D., Ph.D., from the centre for uroneurology at the University of Groningen, conducted a study and found that when women wore socks that the percentage of them when they didn’t wear socks reaching orgasm went from 50% to 80%. With Raynaud’s, if your feet are affected, don’t be afraid to wear socks during sex or erotic play. I saw a submissive a few years back who had to have socks on even to be able to feel a spanking pleasurably, with cold feet I wasn’t able to stimulate his erogenous zones in any ways and whilst orgasm wasn’t the focus he wasn’t able to reach subspace without socks on. I understand some Mistresses have strict protocol of no socks during sessions, but really this is something worth considering if you aren’t able to hit their spots so to say.

There are loads of lovely socks out there now, and many who have fetishes for women to wear knee-high socks. Some stockings can keep some people’s feet warm enough, however, some find the synthetic material of certain stockings and tights to be a trigger as they feel cold – it’s all trial and error. But feel free to embrace socks as part of your sexy lingerie, and really should we be worrying so much about removing them when in the throes of passion?

Warm-up yourself and your bed.

There are many conditions when being active before intercourse can help and for some Raynaud’s is one of them.  Whether it’s simple stretching or a bit of light cardio, it can not only help with blood flow to erogenous zones but help muscles wake up so you are more limber and mobile. As I’m rather sadistic, for some of my date nights at home we have part of the evening where we play a HIIT card game, however, there are some couples games which get you moving during the tasks which can help warm you up slowly and are maybe a bit more fun for you and your partner.

If you’re heading to bed to do the deed, and then make sure your bed is warm. The amount of times I’ve gotten my body all warmed up and then bam, cold cotton sheets leading to triggering a Raynaud’s attack. No matter what age you are, electric blankets are awesome! I’m only just 30 and realised long ago that categories things like this for people who have reached a certain age is a big mistake and that stigmas around the cosiness of electric blankets need to go. If your partner can’t handle a hot be then get one that works on only your side of the bed so after sex you can roll over and spoon and they are laying on their cool side and you are on your hot side. If you have dysautomonia then one that focuses on just heating your feet may be ideal as your core body temperature may be hot when your feet are freezing.

Don some sexy gloves.

Gloves are an amazing garment to wear and compliment so many types of lingerie and outfits it’s crazy. Not only can they look sexy on woman but they too can look fantastic on guys. You may find different gloves affect your Raynaud’s differently, for some, satin gloves depending on the material can be a trigger, latex gloves can sometimes be a bit cold and cause issues too however there are some who find the compression from latex materials helpful when blood flow is involved. It will take a bit of experimenting but not only can gloves help keep you warm they can help generate different textures during play and lead to experiencing different sensations. If you use nitril or latex gloves for anal play or medical play you may find these a trigger, however some can find if you get them so they compress slightly and fit correctly that this can help prevent an attack – it’s all about getting the right size for you.

Use your cold hands as sensory play

When stroking the right area of a partner I have found that some of them have greatly enjoyed the sensation of my cold hands or feet. This is different to waking your partner up in the middle of the night by suddenly putting your cold feet onto them and shocking them awake. Giving a lover a sensual massage with your cold hands not only helps warm your body up from their body heat, but you are being active in the process and warming up your body almost as if your were performing slow tai chi exercises.

Suck some life into the area with suckers and cupping

Suction toys such as nipple suckers and penis pumps can help get the blood flowing to the areas they are placed. There are now even nipple suckers that change colour as you warm up, so if your Raynaud’s affects your nipples, these are good ones to see if your bloods flowing into them when trying nipple suckers out. For other areas of the body there are Chinese cupping sets you may want to invest in as they can help get the blood flowing, I know some who get shockingly cold backs and these can help.

The advantages and disadvantages you may find with potions and lotions

Warming lubricants and massage oils can help and encourage blood flow, plus applying them to one another can be very fun. There are some lubricants such as tingle lubes however, which for some can trigger a Raynaud’s attack, if you only have Raynaud’s in your hands for example and not your genitals you may wish for your lover to apply these for you. Numbing lubes, whilst can be great for other medical conditions and types of sexual play, these can cause Raynaud’s to flare. I find anti-inflammatory gels can trigger mine too. I’m not saying avoid these but just be aware that it may be causing a flare. There are also things called massage candles which heat oil to a safe temperature and then can be applied to the body whilst still warm.

Put a Ring on it or clamp it

If you many to get blood flow to your affected areas but struggle to keep it there, investing in a cock ring, clitoral clamp, or nipple clamp can help keep it there and sometimes stop a Raynaud’s attack. There are even colour changing cock rings which can help you tell if you still have heat and blood flow in the penis t these can also be fun to watch change colours.

Get heated sex toys

Heated sex toys have come a long way now, and not only are they for those wanting to mimic the heat of flesh during play they are also great to use if you struggle with getting blood flow to an area. There are heated rabbits and even male masturbators that warm up. There can be fun for foreplay or solo play and many of them vibrate too, which is an added bonus!

A Note about vibrations

Raynaud’s can actually be caused as well as triggered by vibrations. When looking for vibrators you may find it helpful to read reviews and seeing if certain devices emit vibrations into the handle / grip areas of the device as you may find these trigger your Raynaud’s.

 

Finally speak to your doctor about Raynaud’s medication if it really is that bad. Whilst there are studies suggesting the use of certain supplements and medications can help you, some may contradict with other medication or conditions you have so getting advice from your doctor is essential.

 

 

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