Strategies for a Comfortable Sex Life
Like any exercise, hobby, or physical task, sex will be easier on your body when you learn to compensate for your COPD symptoms. This involves good preparation, listening to your body, and adapting your environment to help you and your partner stay comfortable during love making.
Improve Your Fitness
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the importance of exercise cannot be overstated when it comes to sex and COPD. Get in the habit of gentle, but regular endurance training: gradually add a few minutes to your daily walks, or if you’re not sure how to up your level of activity safely, consider joining a pulmonary rehab program at a local hospital for some help with building your exercise tolerance.
There’s no doubt that energy levels wax and wane throughout the day, and if you choose a time when you naturally feel more awake and energized, you can count on more stamina between the sheets. It doesn’t have to be set in stone – spontaneity is one of the nicest parts of a healthy sex life – but try to take advantage of good opportunities.
Keep the Air Circulating
When breathing becomes more difficult during strenuous activity, a cool breeze can help you catch your breath and ease your anxiety. Keeping the bedroom window open or placing a fan near the bed can keep air flowing through the room, but be sure to clean away any irritants beforehand – when dust, pet hair, and smoke gets stirred up, your lungs will almost certainly react.
Prepare for Sex as You Would Prepare for Exercise
If your doctor recommends taking a certain medication before your workout, be sure to take it before sex, too. A short-acting bronchodilator is helpful for most people, but for others, supplemental oxygen may also be necessary. You can get extended oxygen tubing to grant you more freedom of movement when you’re hooked up to the tank.
An oximeter can help you determine your oxygen needs. Wearing this small electronic device on your fingertip will indicate how much oxygen is in your blood during activity, and if it falls below 88% saturation, supplemental oxygen could bring a noticeable improvement to your breathing and energy during sex.
Changing Your Perspective on COPD and Sex
There’s no doubt that physical limitations can be frustrating, but you can use your COPD as a jumping off point for sexual exploration and adaptation. The missionary position can become too strenuous, and you may find that certain types of pressure interfere with your breathing or lead to chest discomfort. Instead of dwelling on the fact that traditional positions are too taxing, enjoy experimenting with new positions, and maybe try using aids or toys.
Remember that the intimacy is what matters most, so don’t focus too hard on reaching climax. Live in the moment and strive to appreciate your partner. The more attention you give to all the little, caring gestures (hugs, kisses, and caresses), the more likely you’ll enjoy the experience, and your sex life will develop in positive ways.
Many people with a chronic disease feel self-conscious during sex, but don’t let your hang-ups interfere with your happiness. After all, everyone deserves to enjoy the comforts and rewards of intimacy.