Q&A: My Wife Experiences Pain during Sex

Dear Steve and Cathy,

Is there a way to improve sex when my wife constantly experiences pain? She has arthritis and fibromyalgia, a degenerative disk disease. She also has a morphine pump implant and takes three different kinds of pain medicine. She wants to make love but often hurts too much and rarely orgasms anymore and it's getting more difficult as time goes by. I love her so much and want to give her the satisfaction she so much deserves. Can you help us? --K.

Cathy says:
I am really glad you both want to improve your sexual relationship, even with these challenges. The truth is that we'll all be experiencing similar limitations, either through natural aging, chronic illnesses or other physical traumas.The first thought I have is to make sure both of you are communicating as clearly and directly as you can, to decrease the possibility of misunderstandings.

We often make assumptions about what our partner means, thinks and desires. Voicing our thoughts and listening to theirs helps us know what will and won't work. It also saves a lot of time trying to read each other's minds!Don't forget to communicate your needs and wants to your wife. She might not be able to fulfill them due to her physical limitations, but it can help to know that she would (if she could) give you your heart's desire.

Your wife's arousal or her ability to physically respond might be compromised due to pain and medication. Some antidepressants can inhibit orgasm. Together, talk to her physician frankly about this aspect of your relationship. Your wife might be able to alter her medication or add something to help temporarily.Also, focus less on orgasm and more on the whole spectrum of your sexual relationship. Foreplay is just that, for-play. This includes verbal foreplay, like sweet nothings (somethings!) between you two, kind and loving gestures throughout the day, and emotional connection through talking and sharing. Steve says:We men tend to be penile-centric. Which is why my wife's suggestion regarding foreplay is good advice. Women are usually more interested in the journey than the destination.Communication is crucial as well. For instance, ask your wife how important orgasming is to her. Maybe it's not as important as you think. Loving foreplay might be just fine, thank you, at this stage of the game.Focus on the process, not the outcome. Enjoy the moment for the connection and pleasure you can give each other. But be flexible with foreplay. She might be able to handle 20 minutes one day, but have to quit after only five minutes the next.I'm touched by your giving nature, and I suspect your wife is more sexually satisfied than you fear.
Many women would kill to have a husband as caring and as giving as you. And we would all be well advised to take a lesson from the tone of your letter. Enjoy and appreciate those precious moments of intimacy together while you can. They will indeed not last forever.One final thought, and it goes back to the importance of communication. Make sure your wife isn't pushing for orgasm because she assumes it's important to you. If she's as giving as you are, you might both be trying to please what you assume to be the needs of the other. Not an uncommon marital merry-go-round. Which is why when it comes to sex: communicate, communicate, communicate!The Bottom Line From Cathy and Steve:1. To satisfy your partner, communication is crucial.2. Check each other's assumptions, share your needs without criticizing and be positive.3. Guys, don't be penile-centric. The journey to orgasm can be just as important for a woman as the arrival.
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Source: Relationships & Love

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