Sorry Helen Gurley Brown, I just could not resist. This is a topic I have been getting requests to address from day one of penning this blog. I have 500 some odd published blogs and finally, I am going to address it. I am not here to talk about what it is, why we need it or who should be having it. That is either something you should already know or none of my business, respectively. I simply am going to say sex and Fibromyalgia are vicious enemies. Or more directly, Fibromyalgia is a heat seeking missile out to destroy both the physical ability and chemical desire to participate in activities that require contorted muscles and repetitive motion, no matter the endorphin rush it may bring. When a body is wracked by pain so great wearing clothing or jewelry is often painful, close intimate contact with another human being is the absolute last thing on a person's mind. At least it was on mine. When it's a flu or cold, surgery or procedure a person will heal from, a temporary hiatus is not the end of the world. But when that illness is chronic...meaning it does not go away...that can indeed become the end of a sex life.
It is a very frustrating position to be in. The last thing in the world my husband wanted to do was hurt me, add to my physical pain. The last thing I wanted to do was have a repressed and miserable husband not getting his needs met. The guilt of this whole thing was already torturing me! We talked a lot about it. Once we discovered I was lacking any testosterone he felt better. Another side-effect of Fibromyalgia; it caused doubt in his mind of my attraction to him. And his ambivalence in approaching me, to be respectful of my state of pain or mind, caused me to doubt his attraction to me. Especially since I started gaining weight after I got sick. I looked puffy under the eyes and grew a generous double chin. My middle, the most popular spot on my body to gain weight, thickened noticeably. I don't know how he saw sexy, for the mirror undoubtedly told me I was anything but. There were plenty of times we would not talk about it and one or the other would work themselves in to a tizzy of frustration until it burst out into a tangle of hurt feelings. That was counter productive and damaging to both of us. But that only really happened when our communication lagged.
Luckily we discovered early on the power of intimacy. And being who we are, set out to make it a game. It was called "20 Minute Time", and when one of us hollered those words we had to high tail it to the bedroom. We would just lay on the bed and talk and hold each other. Reverse pillow talk, if you will. No TV or computers, no expectation or pressure, just 20 undistracted minutes of each others company. If it led to something else, hey, that worked too! Either way we bonded and strengthened the love and passion so hard to keep alive even in a marriage between healthy people. Eventually we figured out ways to "modify" the deed itself so I was not in pain, or it was very minimal and entirely worth it. Creativity in this arena is not a bad thing. And like a lot of things in life we Fibrates love to do, energy had to be stored up in advance. And rest was required after. So no, I don't believe a Fibromyalgia diagnosis comes with a sex life death sentence. I do believe it is hindered, hampered and complicated. It changes, as Fibromyalgia does to every other aspect of our lives. It requires flexibility (no pun intended) and an openness to new ideas. But there are ways, if determined enough, to accomplish pretty much anything in life. For many of us this is a pretty important anything.
Thanks for joining,