Sex and MS: losing and finding the big O

Fri 17 March 2017

When you have MS, your bed becomes your best friend. MS can mean beds risk being drab, depressing places cluttered with cake crumbs (just me?), but they’re also conducive to sex – aren’t they?

Sex can be complicated when you’re sick. Hell, sex can be complicated regardless, but a chronic condition is a game changer like no other.

My body and MS

I found out I had MS two weeks after my thirtieth birthday. A major relapse that affected my sensation from the waist down sent me to A&E and that was that.

My skin was numb to the touch and took a long time to come back. Instead, there was a wicked case of shocking pain down my back when I bent and tight tingling down both legs.

Although much of my sensation came back, my legs still flare up on the regular and the way I have sex has changed.

Losing the big O

When I lost sensation in my legs, I lost my orgasm too – although it didn’t just disappear like Samantha’s mojo in ‘Sex And The City’.

My muscles still contracted, but I couldn’t feel anything. And an orgasm with zero sensation is no orgasm at all. Ultimately, the climax was like ‘La La Land’ – a shoulder-shrug “meh”.

I stupidly googled what to do. A self-proclaimed medic on a message board said that losing your orgasm with MS happened fairly often. As MS damages nerve pathways, signals wouldn’t get sent.

His advice? Mourn. No techniques or tricks to try. He said it was probably gone for good, so get over it. Go do something else instead. How about gardening?

When it comes to orgasms and MS, there’s a major lack of advice out there. I was depressed but determined.

Despite many disappointments, I persevered. I masturbated more than ever. And when I started seeing someone who was super chill about my condition, I began having a lot of sex too.

The right partner

Finding that person who is totally in tune with your needs is mind-blowing.

When fatigue gets the best of me, we take a break. When my tingling flares up, we change positions. If my bladder starts being a bitch, we stop and start some more.

He’s constantly supportive and doesn’t care that sex is fragmented, impacted by MS. It’s literally the best sex of all time ever. Because we’re not angry about the MS, we’re having sex in spite of it.

Find what works for you

Compromise is crucial. Your body may have changed irreparably thanks to relapses and your bladder might be as irritable as mine is, but changing your expectations is so important.

Rewrite the rules and sidestep the stereotypes. If penetration is out of the question, there are other routes to arousal.

Love yourself. Find out what you enjoy, try something new with a partner, or buy a toy to use solo. Sex might be different post-diagnosis, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be great.

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