A perfect example of two things that most people wouldn’t automatically associate as going well together is peanut butter and honey.
However, just because it might not be as well-known a combination doesn’t make it any less practical. Another example that middle aged men might be surprised to learn about, is sex and arthritis.
Indeed, having more sex can help relieve osteoarthritis, the most common form of joint pain. Even the medical professionals of the ISSM’s Communication Committee agree that for some men, sex is an effective treatment.
It’s a concept that isn’t really that hard to understand once you think about it. After all, arthritis isn’t a disease—it’s a symptom of joint inflammation. As such, it can be treated. Some of the most common ways of combating it include pain medications and lifestyle changes, like incorporating low-impact activities that help move our joints through their full range of motion, including:
However, sex also falls under this category of low-impact exercise. Even better, orgasm releases a rush of endorphins from your adrenal system, which are the body’s natural painkiller.
How To Minimize Arthritis Pain and Maximize Sexual Pleasure
Similar to other physical activities, we may not be able to perform with the same vigor as we did when we were younger. However, this doesn’t mean that sex can’t be just as pleasurable or that its benefits for easing joint paincan’t be reaped regularly. It might not seem very sexy at first, but a little pre-planning is necessary—and can even be fun.
There are several steps to take prior to having intercourse with your partner in order to maximize the experience:
1. Know Your Body
There may be certain parts of the day during which your pain is worse than others. For many, this typically happens in the morning, but for others it may be during the afternoon or later at night. Understanding when you are at the most risk for joint pain is important in order to plan your intimacy around.
2. Consider Your Medications
Timing the application or ingestion of prescribed pain medications is critical; knowing when they are working at their peak will result in the most comfort during sex.
3. Get Limber
Medical professionals suggest exercising a bit prior to sexual activity in order to get blood flowing throughout the body—including to your joints.
Try taking a walk together, or even throwing on some music for a slow dance. The additional benefit here isn’t just physical—this will also go a long way toward reestablishing the emotional connections necessary for great sex.
4. Warm Up
The heat from a warm bath or shower will help soothe joints and help you to relax, which is essential for achieving and maintaining an erection. It’s also a great follow-up after your light exercise, and a perfect prequel to intercourse.
5. Take Your Time
Reintroducing more foreplay before sex can aid joint inflammation and intimacy. Receiving a massage can relieve pain and promote relaxation—while giving one helps get fingers, wrists, and shoulders moving, which is required for long term arthritis management.
Are Arthritis and Erectile Dysfunction Related?
Incorporating a healthy routine of preparation and foreplay can contribute to more than just pain management. It can also improve your actual sex life.
So, can osteoarthritis cause erectile dysfunction?
One of the more common sexual challenges that men face as they age is erectile dysfunction. While arthritis doesn’t have a direct link to ED, many of the methods for treating both overlap. It is important to understand that there can be a great many causes behind ED, such as heart disease or obesity.
However, some of these factors—like low testosterone and constricted arteries—can be beaten back with the same management techniques for arthritis. For example, an increase in exercise assists with both weight management and testosterone production in addition to helping prepare for a date with intimacy.
What To Do During Sex to Help Relieve Arthritis Pain
Once the pump has been primed, it’s time to get down to business. However, for men dealing with arthritis, the thrill of sex can oftentimes be drowned out by the fear of joint pain or hip pain. Fortunately, there are ways of confronting this hesitation in order to ensure more pleasure than pain, including:
Being Open and Communicative
Talk with your partner about your fears and hesitations beforehand. They should be the only other person in the world besides your physician that you can feel completely comfortable with discussing your reluctance.
During intercourse, make sure to be vocal if you are feeling more acute discomfort, so you both can adjust and continue without pain.
Moving Your Whole Body
Don’t limit yourself in terms of how you perform. The more joints you can move, the better, including your wrists, fingers, elbows, ankles, and back. Experiment with different positions to relieve the emphasis on your knees while still promoting pleasure for the both of you.
Don’t focus on the pain; stay in the moment and stay sexual. Stop, start, and switch sex positions as much as is necessary to remain locked in on the task at hand. This will also help ensure your partner that your focus is entirely on them rather than being distracted.
At Paramount Men’s Medical Center we want men throughout St. Louis and the broader area to know that they can have great sex again; and they can fight back and overcome sexual issues like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and low testosterone levels. If you’re facing issues and are seeking medical support, contact us to learn more about treatments and how you can get started today.