Enjoying comfortable and satisfying sex with spinal stenosis can be a difficult proposition for many diagnosed patients. Central and foraminal spinal stenosis can be detrimental factors in the sex lives of both male and female individuals and might even prevent them from participating in active intimacy with their chosen partner. A fulfilling sex life is a natural right enjoyed by all people. However, illness, injury and advanced age can all pose impediments to this objective. Spinal stenosis can disrupt normal sexual functionality and desire through several different mechanisms, leading to physical, social and psychoemotional consequences that can negatively affect many facets of life.
This essay explores the ways that stenosis can impact sexual interactions. We will also provide patients helpful guidance in solving many of the sexual problems associated with central and foraminal spinal stenosis.
Sex with Spinal Stenosis Pain
Pain will greatly diminish anyone’s sex drive and prevent enjoyment of sexual activity. Patients who have pain due to spinal stenosis might not have the motivation to have sex or might find that participation in intimate activities might worsen their suffering. Some stenosis conditions respond negatively to positional changes or postural adjustments in the anatomy. In essence, how a person moves might greatly influence their pain scores. During sexual interactions, movement is usually inherent to pleasure, so this can pose huge problems when it comes to satisfying participation.
Pain might also be a problem during sex when a person reaches orgasm. We have received numerous reports from patients who can indeed have sex, but suffer flare-ups of pain when climaxing. Since orgasm is the overall goal of most sexual encounters, pain at the climax moment can really spoil the entire undertaking and make patients lose desire in pursuing sexual intimacy at all.
Sex with Spinal Stenosis Nerve Dysfunction
Neurological dysfunction can be a symptomatic expression of both central and foraminal stenosis. Since the entire sexual process is a direct result of the mind’s interactions with the body via nerve messages, it is very common for patients to suffer the reduced ability, or the complete inability, to even have sex physically.
Neurological dysfunction can cause women to suffer an inadequate arousal response. Even if artificial lubrication is used, sex can still feel uncomfortable and unnatural if a woman can not get her body to cooperate in its normal anatomical functionality. For a man, the occurrence of neurological deficits can cause erectile dysfunction and/or the inability to orgasm. Obviously both of these expressions will greatly undermine a man’s ability to perform or enjoy sex.
Still Enjoying Sex with Spinal Stenosis
Sex is far more than just a limited definition of intercourse. Sex can be a wonderful mindbody activity at any age and any stage of life. However, it takes some trial and error, as well as excellent and open communication to facilitate a satisfying sex life given the barriers posed by central or neuroforaminal spinal stenosis.
Partners must talk to each other and try to work out solutions to each and every problem that might affect participation in sexual contact. When no solution to a particular issue is apparent, couples are advised to speak to their physician or physical therapist to find ways to address specific strategies to facilitate intimacy. Usually, with a bit of effort, patience and understanding, sexual intimacy can be reinstated in a relationship, even if it is limited in its expression. Remember that sex is an important part of a full life and a crucial aspect of pair-bonding for all couples. Therefore, turning attention to satisfying sex, despite spinal stenosis, will help to further cement the relationship and provide each partner with a feeling of satisfaction: mind, body and spirit.