So, maybe that is something important to keeping the intimacy going is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be sex

So, maybe that is something important to keeping the intimacy going is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be sex

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Rebecca Gillett: Some days, though, no matter what anybody’s intention is, you might just not be in the mood. And when you’re in a lot of pain, you might not wanna be touched, and that can be misconstrued as: I don’t care about you. How do you give advice to people who ask about: How do I say no without hurting their ego?

Iris Zink, NP: The person with whatever the chronic disease is, or the type of arthritis is, needs to understand what their disease is. And their partner needs to understand what the disease is. I think it’s gonna be much easier for me to accept that my partner isn’t feeling well if I understand what it is that makes them not feel well. Because many people with arthritis, you can’t see what the problem is. It may not be obvious. Maybe it’s somebody’s hands; well, what’s that got to do with the rest of their body?

What if it’s the fatigue? I can’t see fatigue. What does fatigue mean? So, take a little nap. I think before you can help your partner understand, you’ve got to be able to say whenever, “No, I really don’t want to.” I mean that’s legitimate for somebody to say, no matter what. But I think in order to say it and feel that you are sparing feelings, or that what you really wanna communicate is: “I still love you, I’m not rejecting you, it’s just my body is not gonna let me do this tonight.”

I always say the sexiest thing my husband does is unload the dishwasher

Victoria Ruffing, RN-BC: I would say, you know, on those nights when you can’t, or it’s just too much, to have intercourse: “I just can’t. I’m overwhelmed by that, but can we do XYZ? Can we schedule for tomorrow? Are there some alternatives that we can explore?” And then, there’s also this whole school of thought that we’re watching a little too much Netflix, and we’re not having enough sex with our partners.

And I, referring back to Miriam Coughman’s book, she really talked about having an occupational therapist get your sex toy

So, there’s also this thought, well, just doing it is gonna make everyone feel better. “I know you’re not feeling 100%, maybe don’t feel great about your body.” But if you kinda just let it start with, like, some hand holding and some foot rubbing, you might get more into it. There’s that kind of, you know, “Maybe could I just give you a back rub and we can see how that goes?” There’s that avenue. Or there’s, you know, “Not tonight, but how about tomorrow?”

Pete Scalia: I know you’re talking like, with the scheduling thing, and maybe trying to find time for that. Because again, you know, like as a guy, I mean, there’s two different types of morning stiffness, right? (le time, you have that dilemma of, well, OK, so it’s not so great when that happens. Maybe even something just simple, like touching or cuddling or something like that really could help a lot, right?

Iris Zink, NP: We talked about the caregiver stress before. There are people who do that, and maybe having somebody else help out with the household duties, like somebody else is coming in to clean every two weeks, so your caregiver partner’s not doing that anymore. There’s leftover time for intimacy. Anything that you can get off of the person’s plate is really gonna help a lot. Because wow…