One of the symptoms of various chronic illnesses (such as transverse myelitis and multiple sclerosis) that so few feel they can speak about is that of sexual dysfunction. In the beginning it’s unlikely to be the most stressful or pressing symptom since you are still in shock and dealing with so many other symptoms. Sex is lower on the list of priorities – learning how to walk again and dealing with bowel and bladder issues take up most of your energy!
However, once the dust settles and you are learning to handle your diagnosis the sex thing comes back into focus. Whether you just want to masturbate or are trying for a baby with your husband the problem remains the same. Your illness is causing issues with your sex life.
We experience everything from burning sensations in the genital area, not having the strength to move, not being able to get an erection or not experiencing orgasm, plus so many other issues.
How then to even begin to cope with this? In the UK, and I assume in other cultures similar to ours, sex is a subject that is still a taboo. Even amongst the younger generations, sex is not something as openly discussed and where it is discussed it’s not in the context of dysfunction or illness. So, after seeing a need for somewhere for TMers to talk about this stuff I set up a Facebook Support Group: Transverse Myelitis & Sex
I am someone who genuinely has no issues talking about these things, whether it’s from a personal perspective, psychological, physical, erotic, I think it’s important to be open and aware of one’s own sexuality. I just wish I could help more directly, but I’m not a qualified therapist or doctor. So, my aim is to create a safe space to talk and to link people to helpful articles and websites and write blogs on various areas of sex and sexual dysfunction for the chronically ill – specifically for Transverse Myelitis, but others with other demyelinating diseases would certainly benefit from such blogs.
If anyone has any helpful articles or websites feel free to contact me!