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The Immunocompromised Girl's Guide to Hot Sex

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If you or your partner have a chronic illness, chances are there have been some not so sexy seasons in your sex life. Maybe your sex life has even been nonexistent at times. I get it (well, sometimes I don’t, not that “it” anyway – more on that in a bit). Chronic illness can make romance challenging. (I was going to say hard, but nope, not a good idea.)

The thing is, even us immunocompromised girls want to get our freak on. There are just all those seemingly never-ending complications to deal with. For instance: Will I get an infection? If so, will that infection spread, leading to other, worse infections? Will it hurt? Have I showered or shaved my legs in the last 10 years or so? Can I complete said acts without horrific pain? Can I complete said acts without horrific pain for days to come? Do I even remember how to have sex? Will my partner still be attracted to me after all this weight I’ve gained? Will this set off a flare? Can I stay awake long enough to do this?

Infections, setting off flares and trying to decide if you can stay awake during sex? Not that hot. But connecting with your partner? Feeling seen, known, loved, cherished and chosen? Super hot.

Olaf believes some people are worth melting for, and we know some people are worth sorting through the complications of sex and chronic illness for (and we’re one of them, by the way). How do we, even us immunocompromised girls, enjoy hot sex?

1. Get comfortable. Whatever this looks like for you and your partner, maybe it means adjusting the lighting, the temperature in the room, the location, the position or even the degree of intimacy your body can tolerate. It may also mean getting comfortable with your body. If your partner tells you that you have the body of a hottie, believe them! Accept the loving words lavished upon you. Rejecting your body and their love will only make it harder to have hot sex when the time comes. Embrace your body, celebrate all the hard work it’s done fighting illness. You may not look the way you once did, but that doesn’t mean you don’t look good. Don’t rob your partner of the opportunity to show you just how much they still enjoy your body.

2. Think sexy. As chronic illness warriors we often think medically. Throughout the day we think about dietary restrictions, taking medications, treatments and side effects and managing homes and children in spite of symptoms. It can be hard to throw in, “I can’t wait to get my freak on” in the middle of a migraine. Looking for windows for romance physically as well as reflecting back on the fun times we’ve had in the bedroom will help keep intimacy at the forefront of the relationship. Again, positive body image for the win here. The better we feel about ourselves, the better we’ll feel about intimacy.

3. Practice. Even when my husband and I can’t have everything on the menu, I try to make sure we partake in something from the menu. This might sound like, “I can’t have sex right now but we can…” Usually, he’s pretty excited about what we are doing, and is always thankful I’m making intimacy a priority in our relationship. This practice also keeps me from overthinking things. When I’ve been in an intense flare and it’s been too painful to engage in intimacy of any kind for a bit I always feel like an awkward sixth grader stepping back into things. The narrator in my head cannot be silenced. “Should I move my hand now? I could grab his butt? Should I grab his butt? It’s probably too soon. I don’t want to seem overeager. I hope he sanitized his hands.” Practice makes perfect and shuts the narrator up. (Thank God.)

Some days, you’ll be having action so impressive the two of you may consider filming instructional videos out of your bedroom (I’ve given this the veto in my home, but best of luck to you!). Other times you may wonder if this is a bike you’ve ever actually ridden before.

Just remember, hot sex is more than steamy action. It’s connecting with that person who’s stood beside you on this journey of chronic illness, who’s loved you in sickness and in health, showered and unshowered, shaved and unshaved. It’s about saying, “Hey you, this part of me is only for you” and that’s pretty hot, even when it’s not.

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Getty Image by Denisfilm

Originally published: February 13, 2018
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