Sociologist and sex educator Barbara Rothmüller on how to live your sexuality despite illness and pain.
It is said that sex promotes health. But what if health isn’t good enough for sex? In Emre’s case, it was irritable bowel syndrome that caused not only chronic pain, but embarrassment: “The symptoms bothered me a lot. I didn’t want to be touched by anyone.”
Serious illnesses, accidents, surgeries, scars and pain can be permanent pleasure killers. Anxiety and sadness also prevent you from feeling your body with pleasure. Because with feeling beautiful feelings, pain and suffering are also perceived more strongly. For protection, the body switches sensitivity down. The tank, which was useful in the beginning, becomes a problem over time. If the pain increases during sex, those affected may develop a fear of sexuality.
Accepting physical changes takes patience. It is possible to feel good about your body and sexuality again. But maybe it feels different than before the disease. Consciously feeling soft touches, warmth and cold on the skin, but also trying out an alternative sexuality with your partner and rediscovering your body: after an illness, pleasant experiences can gradually replace unpleasant ones. And give people confidence again with a changed body image.
Society can make it easier for those affected. Not only people with a healthy body are loved and desirable. After all, illness and mental stress are part of life. They can be overcome – if you do not leave those affected alone in this phase of life and support them as best as possible to live their sensuality despite physical limitations.
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I am George Kunkel, an author working for Today Times Live. I specialize in opinion pieces and cover stories that are both informative and thought-provoking – helping to shape public discourse on key issues. My work is regularly featured across the network’s many platforms, including print media and social media.