Rev Up the Romance When You Have RA

Rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t have to put a damper on your sex life. Here’s how to keep the spark in your relationship.

Susan Amoruso
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Set the scene
Buy fresh flowers, make a romantic playlist, light some scented candles. And put satin sheets on the bed; in addition to feeling great against your skin, satin will help you slide out of bed on mornings when your joints are especially stiff.

Find the right positions
Odds are, you’re not your most acrobatic self during a flare. Experiment with different positions until you find one (or two!) that don’t aggravate sore joints. Try propping pillows beneath hot spots like hips and knees.

Offer positive reinforcement
Let your partner know when something feels good. A simple “That feels nice” lets him know he’s not hurting you, and that can take the pressure off.

Think beyond sex
A sexual encounter with your spouse doesn’t necessarily mean intercourse. Slow down and rediscover each other through foreplay. Kissing, snuggling, massaging—all of these acts can bring pleasure, build closeness and nurture intimacy.

April 2013