Pain Spasms Interrupting Intimacy


My husband and I are coping with his fairly serious injuries from a car accident almost eight years ago. He has severe chronic pain and spasms in the neck, shoulder and back from five shattered discs. Oftentimes, especially when he is stressed, exhausted and overworked, he will have severe attacks of pain and spasms, sometimes even when we are making love. After almost a decade of dealing with his attacks of pain, I am beginning to avoid contact with him. I get tense and distracted because I am afraid of "causing" waves of spasms or pain, which can result in him feeling horrible and being unable to sleep or move for hours.

I don't want our times together to make him feel worse, nor do I wish to keep withdrawing from him. How can I deal with my fear and help us return to our spontaneous lovemaking?


Keep communicating with your hubby. Set up weekly dates to reconnect. These meetings may or may not include sexual interactions, but you should make efforts to keep the romance going.

Try being sexual when your hubby tends to feel his best. Sometimes people with health-related problems feel better at different parts of the day. Some people will plan their intimate interactions one hour after taking pain medication or anti spasm medications, others find that morning or evening is a better time of day for intimate activities.

You might also try experimenting with all kinds of positions for kissing, hugging and holding. This is the only way you are going to find out what works best for you. You may end up getting frustrated, but remember—humor is a great way to get through these difficult situations!

Finally, make an appointment with a sex therapist or counselor. This may give you an opportunity to talk about the issues at hand, including the frustration around losing the sex life you both once knew. Try to find someone who had dealt with chronic health or disability-related issues, but most of all, find someone with whom you feel comfortable.

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Dr. Linda Mona, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in disability and sexuality issues and a disabled woman living with a mobility impairment.

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