Living With Fibromyalgia

How might my need for intimacy change with fibromyalgia?

A Answers (3)

  • Because of the pain and/or fatigue associated with fibromyalgia, you may find that you are less interested in sexual intimacy, too tired to engage in it, or unable to be intimate because it is too painful. This can be difficult, but there are ways to cope. You may find that you prefer other forms of intimacy, such as kissing, cuddling, oral sex, gentle massage, or any activity that makes you feel close and connected, emotionally and physically, to your partner.
  • ACeleste Cooper, Rheumatology, answered

    Your intimacy will change in one word, for women =  pain, for men = impotence, particularly if you have comorbid myofascial pain syndrome.

    Pelvic myofascial trigger points have been identified as pain generators in disorders associated with pelvic dysfunction, such as interstitial cystitis, irritable bladder, painful intercourse, and vulvodynia.  In men they can be the source prostate pain and  impotence. 

    Treatment for women consists of adequate lubrication, possible need for vaginal dilators, and treatment of myofascial trigger points in the pelvic floor.  There only a couple of treatment centers in the U.S. that provide intravaginal trigger point injections, but there is hope with greater education, this will change.

    Treatment for men is the same, pelvic floor MTP treatment. 

    There are physical therapists that specialize in this treatment for both men and women.  The best referrals are made by savvy urogynecologists and urologists.

    Tennis ball therapy as suggested in our book is helpful too. (see and

    When all else fails, there are other ways of fulfilling intimacy, and it is important to avoid letting pain and dysfunction interfere with you and your partner’s needs.

    All blogs, posts and answers are based on the work in Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Celeste Cooper, RN, and Jeff Miller, PhD. 2010, Vermont: Healing Arts press and are not meant to replace medical advice.

    Author of Chapter Five, Living with and Coping Effectively Through Fibromyalgia: Detecting Barriers, Understanding the Clues, in Fibromyalgia Insider Secrets: 10 Top Experts, 2nd Ed. Ebook complied by Deirdre Rawlings, ND, PhD


  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Your need for intimacy may not change at all if you have fibromyalgia. What may change is the type of intimacy you desire and enjoy. Having sex requires energy, which you may have in limited supply. If you and your partner have engaged in vigorous lovemaking in the past, you may need to agree to dial down the intensity a notch or two. Also, people with fibromyalgia sometimes find that certain sexual positions they once found pleasurable now cause intense pain. Experimenting to find more comfortable positions may help you continue enjoying intimacy. Keep this in mind: Communication is the best sexual aid money can't buy. You and your partner should be honest and open about your needs and desires.
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