Can I have a normal sex life with lupus?

Lupus Foundation of America

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People with lupus absolutely can have sex; however, for some, sex may be challenging at times. Joint pain, mouth sores, vaginal ulcers and a decrease in lubrication from the glands can slow sexual responsiveness and make both foreplay and intercourse painful. If this is the case, physical adjustments, such as using pillows for support, finding less painful positions and applying lubricating ointments and creams, can often relieve discomfort during sex. Taking a warm shower or bath can relax sore muscles and joints, anti-inflammatory medication may also provide relief, and sex aids can promote response to intimacy. 

What do I do if I'm struggling to stay intimate with my partner?

Good communication will help counter negative self-perceptions or feelings of rejection, and can keep an amorous spark alive even if sexual activity wanes. Other forms of physical contact—gentle massage, tender touching, a loving embrace—can provide intimacy without intercourse. 

If problems persist, couples should consider seeking the help of a professional. A physician can evaluate any medical aspects that may be interfering with sexual functioning while a licensed therapist can help you improve communication with your partner, as well as offer other suggestions.

Medically reviewed on