Can I have sex if I have arthritis?

Peggy Brill
Physical Therapy

You can definitely have sex if you have arthritis; finding comfortable positions to manage the pain properly and using support (pillows) is key. Watch physical therapist Peggy Brill discuss how you can enjoy a healthy sex life with arthritis.

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
The pain, stiffness, and flexibility problems common with arthritis often interfere with physical intimacy, especially when the hips, knees, or spine are involved. However, even people with severe arthritis can enjoy an active sex life.

A flexible attitude often compensates quite well for having a less-than-flexible body. Try different positions to find the one that is most comfortable for intercourse. For example, people with arthritis in the hips, knees, or spine often find sex most comfortable when both parties lie on their sides. Also consider expanding your sexual repertoire to include other mutually gratifying sexual activities besides intercourse.

Rescheduling sexual activity may also help. For example, if pain and fatigue are worse in the morning, plan on a romantic afternoon instead.

Many people find that taking a painkiller -- or a long, warm shower -- an hour before sex eases muscle and joint stiffness. You can also place pillows under your joints to relieve pain. Special angled wedges or cushions that are designed to make intercourse more comfortable can be purchased at medical supply stores. Another option is to replace your regular bed with a waterbed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.