By Connie Merk for YourTango.com.
For people with lower back pain, just the thought of sexual activity can induce fear instead of excitement. Sex is supposed to be pleasurable, but when it’s associated with physical pain, sexual activity stops. And when that happens, relationships suffer.
The most important advice I can give, not only as someone who is working with back pain patients all the time, but also as someone who suffered from back pain for many years, is to be open with your partner. Communication prevents tension and misunderstandings.
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Your partner needs to understand that you haven’t lost your interest in him or her, but that you are afraid of aggravating your pain. Your partner needs to feel that you still love him. Otherwise, your condition could jeopardize your relationship.
Openness is key. Talk about what works for you and what doesn’t — for both of you. It is not just the position that matters. Having sex is more than a performing act. Lovemaking is about closeness, sharing, understanding, pleasure, fun, and orgasm.
There are plenty of ways people can find sexual fulfillment besides penetration. If you’ve never experimented with oral sex, sex toys, different positions, now is the time! Get creative and explore. You may find that your sex life suddenly becomes much more interesting and fun.
Here are some more useful tips:
1. Prepare well. For many people, sex is something that happens spontaneously, and thus they believe that any kind of planning makes it less valuable or less enjoyable. But nothing could be further from the truth.
When you are dealing with acute or chronic back pain, proper preparation for “the act” may be the only way to enjoy the experience. Nothing kills passion faster then a sudden onset of pain or the constant fear that the wrong movement will render you helpless on the bed.
Due to your constant pain, it may be difficult for you to relax and let go. Thus, trying to relax the affected muscles by taking a muscle relaxant or pain killer might help to prepare for the sexual encounter. Or, even better, have your partner join you in a warm bath or hot shower, or give you a gentle massage as part of your foreplay.
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2. Try different positions. Plan exactly where to have sex and in what position in order to avoid pain. In the beginning, you might need to try out different positions until you find the right one for you and your partner, where you both can be comfortable.
Try preparing the room with cushions, towels and covers under the knees, head, or lower back for support. Remember, it is all about feeling relaxed so you can enjoy your lovemaking.
If it is the man who suffers from back pain, you may want to try lying on a firm surface and using pillows to support the knee and/or head. A small, rolled towel under the lower back may bring additional comfort. You could also sit on a chair with a back rest and have your partner straddle you.
If it is the woman who suffers from back pain, the missionary position with the legs bent toward the chest may be worth trying out. Sitting on the edge of a chair with your partner kneeling between your legs is also a position that works for many woman. Or, have your partner sit on a chair while you sit on his lap, facing away from him.
Finally, regardless of who suffers from back pain, a side-by-side position may be the best. Both partners should on their sides, she with her back to him. Then, he can enter from behind, which is normally a very comfortable position for both.
3. Don’t rush. Plan your sexual encounter with your partner so that you have all the time in the world. Enjoy what you are doing. Maybe you were never too much into foreplay. If so, now is your chance now to explore that part of lovemaking and get to know your partner in a new, sensual way.
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Choose sensuality over sexuality as you may not be as vigorous as you once were.
4. Undress first. As I have said before, when dealing with back pain, thoughtful preparation goes a long way, and not just when it comes to your position. In the throes of passion, we are not necessarily paying attention to anything besides our sensations.
We definitely don’t pay attention to our bodies and how they move. Therefore, undress carefully. You don’t want to struggle to get your clothes off in an awkward position that may knock your back out.
5. Masturbation, oral sex and sex toys. If penetration is too painful for one of the partners, there are plenty of other ways to give your partner sexual pleasures. Oral sex, masturbation and dildos or vibrators are great ways to bring about sexual fulfillment and spice up your sex life.
The most important thing is to communicate openly about what you both like and don’t like, and to explore and experiment with new ways of giving and receiving pleasure.
6. Make sex fun. If you are up for it, why not bring some spice into your bedroom? Try playing doctor.
The more you are distracted from your back pain, the better. Sex raises the spirit and puts you in a better mood. Plus, having an orgasm also relaxes all the muscles in the body, and if your muscles are relaxed, your will feel less pain.
With a bit of preparation and fantasy, suffering from back pain does not mean that you are doomed to a life without sex. On the contrary. You could find that experimenting with longer foreplay, toys, positions and role-plays —things you would have never considered before — can actually spice up your sex life. Just be open with your partner, and have fun!
This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: Bad Back? 6 Tips For Pain-Free Sex.