- Chronic pelvic pain and sex are anything but a match made in heaven.
- Chronic pelvic pain affects 5 to 15 percent of males worldwide.
- Men with chronic pelvic pain and their partners often have sexual difficulties.
- Erectile dysfunction affects up to 48 percent of males with chronic pelvic pain.
- Good preparation is key to satisfying sex when dealing with chronic pelvic pain.
- Treatment should address both pelvic pain and sexual dysfunctions.
Chronic pelvic pain and sex: The topic is more complicated than you might think. Most people think that pain “down there” is something that only affects women, but that’s not true. Men can develop pelvic and genital pain, too, and it can mess with your sexual pleasure as well as your partner’s. But there are ways to manage chronic pelvic pain and sex in your relationship.
What Causes Chronic Pelvic Pain in Men?
Male pelvic pain is more common than you think. Between 5 and 15 percent of males worldwide suffer from it. Both physical and psychological factors can cause or exacerbate chronic pelvic pain in men.
Physical Causes of Chronic Pelvic Pain
The most common type of pain is classified under the broad category of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). It covers all kinds of conditions, such as non-bacterial prostate inflammation. Other causes of pain in the pelvic area include injury and illness, such as cancer.
Men experience pelvic pain in different locations. The most common areas are:
- Perineum (the skin between the anus and scrotum)
Pain can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the lower back or legs. For some men, erections and/or ejaculation can be painful, too.
Psychological Causes of Chronic Pelvic Pain
Research shows that pelvic pain is more complex than most of us realize. Aside from the obvious, physical causes, the mind also plays a role in pain perception. Men who have negative or anxious thoughts connected to their sexual performance experience more intense pain.
Chronic Pelvic Pain and Sex
Unless you’re a fan of “kinky” sexual practices, pain and pleasure don’t mix well in the bedroom. Once the pain kicks in, a vicious circle begins. You learn to expect suffering during intimacy, and your desire levels drop. You may even develop a sexual dysfunction, such as ED.
Chronic Pelvic Pain and Sex Drive
Studies show that men with chronic pelvic pain report reduced desire and arousal. They also make love less frequently and have fewer orgasms. Of note, partners of men with CP/CPPS have more intimate problems too, for example, pain during intercourse or vaginismus.
Pain impacts desire; losing interest in lovemaking is understandable when you’re suffering. As living beings, we tend to avoid unpleasant stimuli. While not all forms of erotic activity will be uncomfortable, you may grow distant from your partner out of fear that kissing, hugging, or caressing will lead to more advanced sexual play and result in more pain.
Chronic Pelvic Pain and Erectile Dysfunction
ED is the most common sexual problem among men with CPPS. Up to 48 percent of men with the condition have problems getting hard.
Chronic Pelvic Pain and Premature Ejaculation
PE is very common among men with chronic pelvic pain. Research indicates that it affects from 26 up to a staggering 77.3 percent of men. The inability to make intercourse last long enough to satisfy both partners can take a toll on a relationship.
You may feel like you’re not doing a good job as a lover, and your partner may feel frustrated.
Enjoying Sex When Dealing With Chronic Pain
If pelvic pain is messing with your intimate life, it’s time to get resourceful and fight to get your pleasure back! Here are some tips to make the most out of eroticism when you’re dealing with chronic pelvic pain.
Good Preparation is Key to Success
Gone are the days of spontaneous sex on the kitchen counter. When pelvic pain accompanies you daily, preparation is your new best friend. Talk to your doctor about safe use of painkillers, and take a pill before a romantic evening. You can help your body get ready by warming up in a shower, using a heating pad, or doing gentle stretches.
Try Different Positions
If your pain sensations radiate towards your legs, buttocks, or lower back, experiment with sex positions. No need to imitate the Kamasutra; a slightly different angle can work wonders. You can also try allowing your partner to take the lead. Let them do more moving and thrusting while you lie down and enjoy.
As strange as it may sound, sex furniture is the real deal. Use specially designed wedges to position your body and reduce the pressure. If you’re on a budget, get some pillows or cushions. And if your partner is a yoga fan, some of the props used in that practice may also prove useful.
Pick the Right Time
Pain is a cyclical beast. It comes and goes, or at the very least, there are moments when it’s less intense. Master the art of self-observation and understand your unique pain cycles. At what time of day do you feel best? What do you need to have less pain? Hint: Getting a good sleep or doing some light movement outdoors can help.
As much as possible, plan romantic moments at those times when you’re in your best shape. If it’s at 7 in the morning on a Saturday? That’s as good a time for lovemaking as any other!
Expand Your Repertoire
Most guys associate sex with intercourse. No surprises here; after all, your penis is your primary source of pleasure and orgasm. But genitals can be put to good, orgasmic use even without penetration. This small mindset change can mean a lot for your sex life, especially if intercourse equals pain for you.
For those days when you don’t want to risk another unpleasant experience, look for non-penetrative ways to have fun in bed. Ask your partner to give you a massage, or a nice oral session. Or take pleasure and excitement from satisfying your lover.
Exercise Your Pelvic Floor
Kegel exercises are not just for the ladies! We all have pelvic floor muscles that help us keep the pee in and enjoy better sex. Talk to a physiotherapist about your pain symptoms. Tense muscles could be causing your suffering.
With the right mix of manual therapy and at-home exercises, you can reduce pelvic pain (and have stronger orgasms!).
Orgasms Can Provide Pain Relief
Speaking of the Big O, studies suggest that an orgasm can act as a painkiller. The chemicals released during climax can help you relax and increase your pain tolerance. Even if you can’t make love regularly, try masturbating to give yourself some much-needed pleasure.
Improve Your Intimate Communication
Last but not least, talking to your partner is key to managing chronic pain and sex. You need to find ways to communicate during intimate moments. This will help you adapt your practices and reduce painful sensations. If you don’t feel like talking, you can give signs with your hands or make a sound. Just make sure that your lover understands your non-verbal messages.
Get Help For Your Sexual Problems
Pelvic pain can make your life unpleasant and rob you of sexual pleasure. The good news is that help is out there. Experts say that for best treatment results, you should see a urologist and a sexologist. Sometimes it’s useful to get couple’s counseling too.
If your pain symptoms cause erectile dysfunction, try ED medication, such as Viagra or Cialis. At eDrugstore, filling your prescription is easy. Order your medication online and have it delivered, quickly and discreetly, straight to your doorstep.
With eDrugstore, virtual health visits and shipping are always free.
Anka Grzywacz is a sexologist, reproductive health expert and Certified Sex Coach™. In her online practice she helps busy women and couples solve their intimate problems.