First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a couple brats in the baby carriage. No one invited chronic illness. It ends up being like the elephant in the room. Only the room it is in most often is the bedroom. Because after even the mildest of days, it is the last thing on our mind. Most days I am done by six pm, it is shear stubbornness that allows for dinner to be done, showers taken and finally tuck the kid into bed. There are some days that even with my stubbornness it is my husband who finishes up the day.
Please don’t tell me that sex produces endorphins and it will make you feel good. I am sure it does. The point is more , I am fighting back pain and fatigue and that is not even a basic priority. There has to be some kind of desire and as much as I love my husband I just don’t have the energy to invest in that most nights.
I used to feel bad that I would often have to take pain medications in order to make it happen. It just went against every romantic notion I have ever had. I have come to a level of acceptance on this. I am not medicating because it is a pain to do. I am medicating to return myself to some semblance of human. I am taking measures to make sure I can enjoy it as well. So if that means I need to medicate thirty minutes before …then that is what I have to do.
We seem to have fallen into a rhythm that works for us. Most of the time we plan what day it will happen. Its just something that works for us. I did balk at scheduling sex at first. I know it is highly recommended by therapist. In fact my therapist suggested it when we were struggling with the whole we have a kid now how do we still have sex thing. It seems unrealistic, but really the books and tv shows where it just happens is the more unrealistic view. The important things get scheduled. If that means you schedule a date night knowing what comes after date night, then that is what happens. If it means you schedule sex, then you schedule sex. It can seem like it would take the fun of it out of the equation. It just means you have to work a little harder to make it fun. Daydreaming about it helps.
Chronic illness has taken our marriage and sex life through more trials and tribulations than the whole we have a kid and are so severely sleep deprived ever did. While a kid may take a nap and you can sneak off to the bedroom. Chronic illness has taken away morning time. Morning time I wake up feeling more like a flattened pancake than anything else and romantic that is not. With having a kid there are very few and far between chances for a little something something in the middle of the day. So most of the time it is going to be right before bedtime. Chronic illness has now dictated that the most activity that can happen after sex is maybe a bath. Maybe. Piled with epsom salt or after wards rubbing down with arnica gel or biofreeze or whatever pain go away cream you use. Then collapsing and hoping for oblivion of sleep to kick in. At least for a little bit. Chronic illness is a greedy little bitch.
Chronic illness has taken away the options of Kama Sutra. Now its what position causes the least amount of discomfort and also the least amount of pain afterwards. Never had to even consider that after having the kid, well after the initial healing process after spitting a watermelon through a cherry sized hole. Enough said.
I have found it helps to start first thing in the morning, reminding yourself that it will be happening tonight. That might mean making time to read a short but sexy story. It might mean taking five or ten minutes while the kids are outside to watch something that turns you on. It does not necessarily have to be porn, plenty of hot moviestars that can flip a switch for you! It takes some planning sometimes to make sure you are preparing your body and mind. It helps though I promise, like I said: daydreaming.
I really don’t have any words of wisdom on how to explain why to your significant other. I have been extremely lucky and my husband is extremely understanding in this area. This is not saying he doesn’t get frustrated, he does. It is understandable. It is frustrating. Just like in a lot of things, your significant other has got to want to understand. Truly want to understand. The best tool you can use is constant communication. Sit down and discuss what each other’s expectations are and what is realistic. You both have to go into these conversations expecting to compromise. Chronic Illness makes compromise even more important than it normally is.
It is not perfect. It will be something you have to come back to time and time again. There will be times when someone has to accept that it may have been planned but it is just not going to happen. Really all I have to say is IBS flare and its a non issue. I mean really…think about that for a second. Sometimes there is also going to have to be cancelled plans the next day because Chronic illness doesn’t play nice. It happens. Sometimes you can predict what is going to cause a flare, sometimes you can’t.
On the positive side though, I think it has made the times we can come together more special. We take more time to show we care about each other, in other ways than just sex. When you really stop and think about it, sex was probably not the main reason you are with your significant other. Sure it has something to do with it but its not everything. It maybe because I am in my thirties now that I can say that, the nineteen year old I was on my wedding day may have disagreed with that just a bit. Look up ways to remain abstinent…..not so you can avoid it but to strengthen your marriage. Those corny little things really do help.