Intimacy and NMO: Tips and Tricks
The conversation around NMO and intimacy can often be seen as taboo, but let's be real: it needs to be had. Here are some personal tips and tricks I've learned throughout my time living with NMO.
Talk to your doctor about what NMO and sex means to you
For us women, we can sometimes experience loss of sensation due to damaged nerves, vaginal dryness, emotional dysfunction, and more. Always communicate with your doctor first before trying anything new. They understand more than you imagine and can suggest some medications or great tips to improve your experience.
I know you, the diagnosed person, know your boundaries. You know what hurts, what feels good, your state of mind, and your needs. Understand yourself, your mind, your body, and your needs. So, relax and comprehend yourself first so you can be understood.
Communicate with your partner
Communication is key to everyone having great sex. You need to be able to tell your partner your feelings, what is bothering you, physical pain, and how NMO affects you when it comes to sex. When you're able to communicate about how NMO affects sex for you, it opens up more dialogue and ideas about safely having sex with NMO. Consider a sex therapist if you don’t feel comfortable with the topic.
Take care of your body
Ladies, we are more prone to infections due to the nature of our anatomy. Before and after sex care is very important!
Due to bladder and bowel incontinence, it is very important to know your body and the signs of incoming incontinence to prevent accidents. Monitor and schedule your fluid and food intake and try to use the bathroom in a timely manner. Although sometimes, you won't know when your body decides to go to the toilet during sex - that's okay. Just try your best to use the bathroom before and after sex.
You can also use products that will help you prevent infections. There are specific antibiotics for after sex that your doctor can prescribe. I use antiseptic body wipes rather than regular body wipes. Also, a feminine cleanup sponge will help with the messy aftermath and helps keep you clean.
Sometimes, getting to the point is just boring. Using an assistive device to move around can get you out of the mood. Use foreplay to help your body relax and to help you get into your desired position. Try to massage any muscles that suffer from spasticity. Get creative, have fun, and get comfortable.
Don't be afraid of using toys!
Sex toys were created to help achieve your highest climax - so don’t be afraid to use them! Using them alone or with a partner, exploring different options in the bedroom can be so much fun. There are many toys, swings, and other types of furniture to help you get a comfortable position in the bedroom, all while conserving your energy.
Lubricant is your friend
Use a lubricant! Remember that your body’s communication channels are not quite well and so sometimes your body won’t know when it’s time for sex. Help your body out. Get some lubricant!
Last but certainly not least - have fun!
This is a learning process for you. Enjoy every touch, learn what feels good, practice safe sex, and try new things. Take it as a new challenge to help better your sex life with NMO in a way that is not traditional. Better yet, throw away the word traditional from your vocabulary when it comes to NMO and intimacy, and make a personal experience. Only you know what you like!
Were you misdiagnosed, prior to being diagnosed with NMOSD?