People with chronic illnesses don’t want more sex they want intimacy
Chronically ill people don’t want to be told they should be having more sex, as the expectations put onto them are bigger than what healthy bodied people when it comes to the media. I regularly speak with chronically ill people about sex, and as a chronically ill person myself, it was something I had been feeling for awhile but no one else had ever spoken up about it. That was until one lady pointed out to me that the media’s expectations of sex are really high and unrealistic, and when they dish out an article that also mentioned chronic conditions the expectations where even more unrealistic. A lot of chronically ill people are finding that many articles would say the average person was not having enough sex anyway, but then some have even been suggesting that a chronically ill person should be aiming for more.
Many of the articles on chronically ill people and sex seem to lack the information that normally abled sex advice articles have; they simply deny that chronically ill people have also realistic everyday responsibilities such as work, children, housework, admin, and more. It seems many disabled people are being told as they don’t have normal functioning bodies that basically they are no longer burdened by the issues that every other adult has and this is completely wrong.
“Like shit man people work hard, have kids, responsibilities ect and let’s face it most of us aren’t 18 yrs old! Who even has time or energy for the karmasutra 6 times a week? If you do, fantastic! But other people shouldn’t feel they are lacking, because it’s a once a week thing when the kids are at their grandparents.” Anna Sinclair an Ankylosis Spondylitis sufferer fairly points out.
With every chronic illness sex advice article out there, the focus also seems to be focused on sexual pleasure and most importantly orgasm. There are many uneducated articles on certain conditions where the orgasm expectations are impossible, yet writers are still writing them and posting them. When in fact these writers should not be trying to focus purely on closing the orgasm gap between disabled and abled body people, but should be bring other aspects of sexual intimacy into the spotlight and making the same considerations they would with an abled body person.
As chronic conditions are so variable from person to person there is no one guide that will fit all. However, there seems to be an over abundance of resources stating if you do X position you will feel no pain, if you apply lotion or lube Y it will lead to climax, and if you take pain killers an hour before it is going to be ok. Whilst still beneficial resources, if the intimacy factor hasn’t been supported before reaching these stages then then they have a less success rate.
Things that could benefit people when guide writing, and this could apply to people with abled bodies too, is simply offering tips on intimacy and how to become close to a lover when going through stages of foreplay from simply flirting to the final act itself. This would then also take off the pressure when things don’t quite work out on the arousal or orgasm front too.
Speaking with suffers with CES (cauda equina syndrome), where many have fully lost all sensation within their genitals, they have felt abandoned by their health care professionals when it comes to remaining close to their partners. Some fully mourning the loss of vaginal or penis orgasms but the biggest issue many have found is the lack of support for their partners. These people are feeling emotionally hurt that not only have they been left in the dark with no emotional support offered, but their partners too have been offered none; when it comes to sex and intimacy. Where simple words from a health professional could actually give their partners some reassurance that yes, it is safe to be intimate with their partner if they both consensually want to and they will not break them. This is also another area where the unrealistic expectations of orgasm arise and are pressured more and more and many need to be reminded that orgasm is not the main goal of sexual intimacy but many people with disability are still finding that even in guides which mention this that they need to do so better.
Lubricant is still also being offered as the winning solution, even for those who don’t have lubrication issues. After speaking with some, women found that their health professionals had little understanding on how to actually support them and simply recommended lubricant, relax a bit more often, and an arthritis pamphlet on sex. No mention of intimacy support, counselling, or even possible ways of exploring sexual exploration in other forms. Yet, people are gathering on online forums to try and support each other, but too often most group members have been left in the dark. While in other areas of their particular conditions they may be able to offer positive insight due to excellent health care and disability aids, they are struggling to formulate tips on sex and relationships for their fellow comrades. The support isn’t there, it is the same advice offered again and again, within the media, online, pamphlet, and even through their medical specialists.
We simply need to see less articles just telling chronic illness suffers to use a pillow, prop up on a table for position support, use lube, take pain killers, take a bath, and focus on more sex. As these expectations don’t take into account the reality; the realities of what average adults have to endure daily too, but also the realities that not everything should be sex and orgasm focused. There also needs to be more honest within articles, the physically messy and emotionally messy, and I must admit this is down played in general in abled and disabled bodies sex focused advice, but we need more on it. We are all human and we all have to function in life and it is very rare when intimacy is not affected by other things in our lives, no matter who we are.