Persons suffering from lupus can have sex; however, for many of them, sex may be a challenge.
Fatigue, joint pain, hormonal imbalance, flares, routine drugs, decrease in lubrication from the glands can wane down their sexual responsiveness and make both foreplay and intercourse painful.
However, experts say mind behaviour therapy, physiotherapy exercise, and effective drug treatment can help to improve patients’ sexual life.
Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.
For Mrs. Tosin Ilori who seems to have been able to adapt to the rhythm set by the disease, she has been able to figure out how to keep her sexuality alive.
Sharing her experience with PUNCH HealthWise, Mrs. Ilori said lupus gives patients low libido but with the support of her husband, they both understand when to have sex and when not to.
“I just try to take libido boosters sometimes and my partner understands my situation. So, there is no much pressure from him.
“Because of the way sex is, if you aren’t aroused, you can’t be wet. Hence, it leads to painful sex; so, we try with lubricants and we’ve taken time to understand my body and things that will arouse me during sex. So that works for us.”
She added that she takes anti-inflammation medication to help reduce the symptoms of the condition.
“I just take my drugs, trying to bring down the inflammation, and then I take care of my vagina through yoni steaming and smoke steaming.
“I do a few things that will make me feel sexy and trick my brain. Also, we take a while to allow build up so we could have sex.
“If we have sex today, we will wait like five days before we embark on it again. That way, my body is relaxed and there is a gradual build-up. This is not deliberate and it is not to say there is a timetable for it; it just seems to happen that way,” she said.
According to her, when lupus interferes with one’s sexual activity, “It’s kind of like being hungry but having a low appetite.
“You don’t want to be touched and you could stay without sex for as long as it takes and even when you are having the sex, your body won’t respond the way another person’s body will respond.
“The inflammation messes up with your system and keeps your libido low,” she said.