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So, you could always get the “Sex Interrupted” book

So, you could always get the “Sex Interrupted” book

Victoria Ruffing, RN-BC: Well, I think my number one would be: Understand what you can about your disease and your medications. And help your partner to understand that, too. I think before we talk about anything, I think we need to really understand. Number two would be to develop some style of communication that’s going to work between you and your partner. And number three, I think, is relax.

Iris Zink, NP: Just do it. Ashley Graham has a great quote: She said every time she and her husband are bickering, she knows it’s because they haven’t had intimacy in a while, and they just smooth everything out. So, maintain intimacy, whatever that means to you. It doesn’t mean penetration, you knowmunication, communication, communication, that is so important for intimacy in whatever form. I love Vicky’s suggestion about journaling or writing it down and giving your husband or partner a card with information that could be helpful. There is a book.

just laying there, and say, “You know, I picked this up because I heard this crazy nurse practitioner talking about it. Let’s have a conversation.” Because the whole book is about communication and the importance of maintaining intimacy no matter what.

Pete Scalia: I think just having this conversation is key. Like you said, a lot of times, especially for men, a lot of times guys are reluctant to talk about their health in general, right? If you’re dealing with arthritis and you’re dealing with that pain, or you’re dealing with the side effects of the medication, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about it, to your nurse about it, somebody to get that conversation going because you need to do that for your own well-being. But then especially that communication with your partner. And having that dialog is so important. But just know that there are those of us out there who are probably going through something similar, and that you’re not alone in this journey.

Rebecca Gillett: Yeah, definitely not alone. And thank you very much, Victoria. Thank you very much Iris, and Pete, for having this important conversation with me today. And it’s not gonna be the last. I’m sure we’ll have more conversations to come.

If you have a conversation about how the sexual interaction went right after, then everyone’s going to take that personally

Don’t forget, it’s not just physical activity and nutrition and all of the activities of daily living; your sexual health is a part of your health. And make sure you open up to your doctor or nurses, or anybody that’s a health care provider that you’re comfortable with. But most important, like Pete said, communicating with your partner. Thank you guys for joining me today. I really enjoyed having this conversation with you guys.

Rebecca Gillett: Due to the nature of the content in this episode, if you have any questions or comments for our guest experts, please feel free to email us at [email protected].

But it was during that process that I ended up having bilateral hip replacements, so I had both my hips replaced while my wife was pregnant, then had both my knees replaced 14 months after that. But then we were blessed with two more kids, our daughter, Sophia, and our son Nico. And we didn’t have to go through IVF. It was kind of a miracle.

And I thought, wow. That is just so terrible and something I had never thought about, something I knew was not being addressed at all. And so, we talked about some things. And one of the things we talked about was positioning. And supporting her hips and supporting her joints. And pillows under her knees and just ways that she could make herself more comfortable during the act. And she was so grateful, and also, which was surprising to me, was sort of amazed. Because I think she thought that the missionary position was the only way to go.

And the last thing you wanna do when you’re just trying to maintain some degree of normalcy is, at the end of the day, after going through a day with chronic pain and trying to ordem lituano esposa work and trying to maybe take care of your kids and everything, is then your partner’s like, “Hey.” And you’re like, “Are you kidding me? (laughing) That’s the last thing on my mind.”

Iris Zink, NP: I always encourage people to start with their clothes on. So, never with the clothes off. I always encourage people to have a conversation with their clothes on. And I really always encourage people to start with the word “I.” It’s as easy as “I miss you. I miss when we used to have intimacy. I love you so much, but I don’t wanna hurt you and I understand with your new chronic disease, or chronic illness and pain, I don’t wanna exacerbate your fatigue. But I miss the intimacy.”

Set yourself up for success. A nice, hot shower so that you’re warm and loose. I suggest having some rolled towels or pillows handy for people who do need to prop themselves or support a leg or support an arm or those kinds of things. And there is a Kama Sutra, if you will, for people with spinal cord injuries. And I found that to be very helpful in learning, or in at least describing alternate positioning for people.

I’m gonna start with you, Victoria, if you could share your top three takeaways for our listeners on sex and intimacy when you have arthritis

Iris Zink, NP: Before we were all in the middle of this pandemic, it was easier for me, because if my patient had their partner in the room, I would bring up the topic of intimacy between them. Now, when we’re doing so much by video, we’ve lost a lot of that. Because I feel like we’re all kind of in survival mode. There’s been some degree of letting things that are really important, like intimacy, go.

Iris Zink, NP: . when I’m not doing tasks around the house that are off my plate, I am feeling a lot more in the mood (laughing), OK?

PROMO: Whenever you need help, the Arthritis Foundation’s Helpline is here for you. Whether it’s about insurance coverage, a provider you need help from or something else, get in touch with us by phone toll-free at 800-283-7800. Or send us a message at

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