As You Desire: Sex & Intimacy During Times of Stress or Illness

When life is going along just great and everyone is feeling good and healthy, sex is an extra bonus we get to enjoy. Even if we’re a little tired we might still find the energy to arouse our partner (and ourselves) to enjoy some lovin’.

What happens when “life gets in the way”…when it creates an obstacle that sucks away all our life energy leaving nothing for a sexual escapade? There are many life events or phases that create a shift in our personal energies. The addition of a child, the illness or death of a significant other or aging parents needing our undivided attention. How do we maintain intimacy during these times and is it that important?

How do we cope? How does it affect the relationship? Do we feel comfortable talking about it?

As I have addressed in many of my columns, intimacy and sexuality have equal value in a loving relationship. Sex resulting in orgasm can increase hormone levels such as testosterone, giving us more energy and life fire. Intimacy increases oxytocin, which make us feel bonded. When we are using all our life fire to heal a major illness or cope with a life-altering stress, for most people, the idea of being sexual is the last thing on their minds. Or is it?

During most stressful periods of a relationship the one thing that breaks down first is communication. Each partner makes assumptions about how the other is feeling or what they need; both are often misguided. The one who is ill may not feel attractive, although still desires the touch and closeness; while their partner is worried about over doing it and harming them in some way, so they avoid out of fear. Both can end up feeling rejected and unsure.

The most important thing a couple can do during these times is to create a safe, quiet personal space where these concerns and fears can be discussed openly and honestly. You might discover you both still need the same frequency of loving attention but what is required is a new approach. Ask specifically what each other needs. Speak honestly about the type of touch or sexual play you desire and would feel safe. Let each know your vulnerabilities, specific needs and concerns to keep the door of sexuality and intimacy open.

We easily forget about all the other ways to enjoy being sexual and share intimacy other than just through penis-to-vagina penetration; especially if a lazy habit of hop on/hop off has been established.

When penetration is not mandatory, it invites opportunity for more creative play, touch, talk, fantasy, toys, visual pleasures, etc. What matters most is that you still feel connected, even if that means taking time for cuddling and kissing without any further expectations. Many women feel that if they allow this and their partner becomes aroused he will feel frustrated or expect more. So they shy away from any form of intimacy to avoid the conflict. This is where men need to communicate their reassurances that just because he may become aroused, it does not always have result in penetration (although they usually won’t mind if it does). (FYI: The body may respond even when the mind and heart have a different agenda.)

Don’t be afraid to touch, massage, kiss, cuddle and love on your partner when they are stressed or ill unless they ask you not to. The loving touch from your life mate can expedite your healing process and keep you feeling connected. Remember, Love does Heal.

Intimately Yours,

Nancy Sutton Pierce RN, Health Educator is the Founding director of Nancy Sutton’s House of Yoga and Radio Talk Show Host on The Conscious Living Show LIVE every Saturday 11a-12noon on KCNR 1460am You can reach Nancy at asyoudesire@ymail.com with your comment or questions.

As You Desire is proudly sponsored by Body Logic MD; helping both men and women restore their libido and vitality through hormone therapy, fitness and nutrition counseling. www.bodylogicmd.com

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce

Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce

Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce’s eclectic background places her expertise in a league of its own. The compilation of her career as an RN, health educator, intimacy author, radio talk show host, and yoga therapist all fuel her passion as an International speaker and clinical sexologist. Earning her Doctorate degree in human sexuality has broadened her reach around the globe teaching Conscious Living Sexuality™. When not traveling the globe inspiring others, Dr. Nancy enjoys her home life with the love of her life for more than 30 years. They’ve raised three children and now bask in what she refers to as “the dessert of parenting” -- being grandparents. Website. Contact Dr. Nancy

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