Intimacy With Alpha-1 (Genetic COPD)
Last updated: April 2022
Okay, it’s something we don’t like to talk about, but we really should. How is the intimacy in your home?
A difference between the two
Over the past eleven years since being diagnosed with Alpha-1, my husband and my's sex and intimacy have changed over the years. Why did I say both? There is a difference between the two. Sex is a physical act that we share, whereas intimacy is an emotional state that we share.
Over the years, it has gotten harder and harder for my husband and me and we just had to find what worked for us. I also have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), so this made things difficult as well.
For some time, we weren't active at all, but we both missed the intimacy and the connection that we used to have. Dave was so gentle and understanding with me and always told me we didn't need to be sexually active. He cared about my pain and breathlessness and worried about my health. He never made me feel bad or unloved because of my lack of energy or lack of air to be sexually active.
I always felt guilty anyway for not being able to have those moments, but was happy even when we weren't being sexual because we still had our intimate connections. I finally told him we need to figure out a way to do this. There has to be something that we can do so that it is not too hard on my lungs and my RA. So we tried and experimented with many ways until we found something that I was capable of. We both needed that physical and emotional connection that we were missing.
Tips and tricks
It may not be as often as other couples, but at least we have found our way there. That connection is not only important to us, but for many others with chronic illnesses as well. Some tips to help you with your sex and intimacy that I read in the book "Sex Interrupted," by rheumatology nurse practitioner Iris Zink MSN, RN are 1) Never have that conversation in the bed. 2) Use "I" statements when talking. For example, instead of saying “you never want to have sex,” consider saying “I feel like we don’t have sex as much and I want to know why.” 3) Come up with a mating call. It sounds a little animalistic, but Zink says it’s important to find a way to tell your partner that you want to have sex and are interested in intimacy. Otherwise, you allow for misinterpretation, something Zink has experienced firsthand.
Relationships and health
There has been plenty of research demonstrating the positive correlation between strong relationships and a strong sense of well-being. We need relationships and intimacy to help us stay connected and positive.
I know this is a taboo subject, but I hope this can help us all. If you have any ideas or suggestions to add, please write them in the comments below. I'd love to hear your feedback.
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