Multiple Sclerosis and Sex: Help for Women - dummies

Multiple Sclerosis and Sex: Help for Women

By Rosalind Kalb, Barbara Giesser, Kathleen Costello

If you’re a woman dealing with sexual changes due to your multiple sclerosis (MS), we’ll go ahead and get the bad news out of the way first: There’s no magic bullet. Although the manufacturers of Viagra (sildenafil) tried very hard to demonstrate its usefulness for women as well as for men, they stopped their clinical trials in women after concluding that women’s sexual responses are much more “complex” than men’s (surprise, surprise).

Just remember that if MS affects your ability to get aroused or reach orgasm, this is, in fact, a huge loss — and this loss shouldn’t be minimized by you, your partner, or your doctor. The good news is that many women find pleasure in closeness, cuddling, and sensual physical contact even if they can’t reach orgasm.

In the meantime, here are a few tips to enhance your comfort and pleasure:

  • Get to know your own body very well from head to toe. For example, figure out what feels good, what doesn’t feel good, what you enjoy, and what’s definitely off-limits, and then share that information with your partner. Through self-exploration, many women have discovered erogenous zones they didn’t even know they had — like the crook of the elbow or behind the knee. Everyone’s different, so whatever feels good for you is okay!

  • Use a water-soluble lubricant such as Astroglide, KY Jelly, or Replens to deal with vaginal dryness. Don’t scrimp — the more the better. But, avoid petroleum jelly products because they can promote infection. And besides, water-based lubes are better for safe sex because they don’t wear down condoms the way oil-based lubes do.

  • If numbness or sensory changes are a problem, try ge-tting some additional stimulation with a vibrator. Vibrators now come in many different styles — surely one will be able to get you going. Don’t be bashful, try one.