intamacy and MS
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48trying2understand posted:
Hi,
I am new to your site. My boyfriend and I have been dating for about a year now. He has MS but is doing very well overall. He told me early on about his condition and what could or couldn't happen as time goes on and I love him dearly and am committed to help him and stay with him no matter what. I would like some advise from someone that has been in a relationship like mine if possible. When we first started dating he was able to get an erection on occasion so in the first few months of dating we were able to have sex about 4 times total. During that time frame he was romantic in other ways such as french kissing, touching etc. For about the last 8 months or so he has not been able to get an erection and the physical touching, kissing(except for a peck) has all stopped and he treats me more as a playmate or child than a woman. He says that he suppresses urges because he cannot have sex. Is this common that because a man with MS cannot have sex that all intimacy stops? I have tried to ask him if he still finds me attractive etc and he says yes, but it is just a little hard to deal with sometimes, especially so early on. I don't need to sex if he can't do it, I love him for who he is, I would just still like to be treated like a woman on occasion. Can anyone explain how this works to me. I'm sure that it will get easier as time goes on, I am just trying to understand and take it all in right now. Thanks and I wish all of you with MS well as I see what it can do to him and it breaks my heart.
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hackwriter responded:
Dear 48,

There are so many reasons why sex can be difficult. I'm a woman with MS and had very low libido for years before I met my husband. Sex wasn't a big feature of our relationship, but I made the effort and could enjoy it sporadically.

For a long time, I didn't care whether I ever had sex again. It wasn't until the sixth year of our relationship that I experienced a resurgence in my fantasy life and libido. I don't know why it changed, but I suspect it had to do with some hormonal changes and the fact that my troublesome spasticity and pain were bothering me a lot less. I felt better, and I was delighted to discover that my sensation was still intact.

Although MS can cause nerve damage that affects sensation, I believe that problems with sex and arousal are much more complex. If your boyfriend's MS symptoms seem relatively mild, his reticence might be largely emotional. We take a big hit to our self-esteem, for one. And if we suffer from fatigue, chronic pain and spasticity, those things can be very distracting.

Touching and oral sex are things two people can do when penetration is a problem. Intimacy is important for bonding and for self-esteem. And it takes the pressure off a man to "perform."

It sounds like sex is important to you, so it wouldn't hurt to have a talk with him about your needs. If he cares about you he'll want to find ways to keep you satisfied--and that could in turn make him feel better about himself. It's good of you to be patient and understanding, but this is a relationship like any other and MS patients generally do want to lead as normal a life as possible. In time, you can work this out.

Kim
 
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48trying2understand replied to hackwriter's response:
Thanks for your reply. Actually the sex is not important to me though. What concerns me is that he doesn't touch me in any way other than to just be playful now and the french kissing has totally stopped even though I have asked him if we could do that even just once a week because he is such a good kisser. It honestly isn't about "from the waist down" it is all of the other little things that make me feel wanted like the fondling of breasts or the french kissing. If he wanted just to do those 2 things I would be happy. The heat definately bothers him so we stay in alot in the warmer months and he has the pain/tingling in his left hand/arm at times. To look at him he looks and acts fine, but he is on alot of medications and takes his betaseron injections every other night. I try to do whatever I can for him around the house etc so that he doesn't have to do them and worry. He is so precious. Best wishes Kim.