Sex, intimacy and MS
For many people. sex and intimate relationships are an important part of life. However, sexual dysfunction is common in multiple sclerosis (MS), and although it’s something that can potentially be managed, many people find it embarrassing to talk about. But, it’s important to remember that being open and honest with your doctor, your partner, or a friend, is the first step towards finding help and support.
It can also be helpful to hear about other people’s experiences, that’s why we looked into the research and gathered opinions from the MS community about how their MS symptoms affect their sex lives.
Some people believe symptoms affecting their sex lives are an inevitable consequence of MS that must be endured.
But it’s important to remember that an unsatisfactory sex life does not have to be part of living with MS and that support is available. Working with your doctor to understand and deal with the cause of any problems you’re experiencing is an important step to help you find a solution that might help.
Below are three main causes of sexual dysfunction in MS, but it might not be as simple as finding one cause as they can all impact each other, worsening the overall problem.
Many people with MS feel uncomfortable when discussing these concerns, but if your MS has been having a negative effect on your sex life it’s important to talk to your doctor. This will help you to work together to manage and treat your MS in a way that’s best for you.
Make sure you talk to your doctor if the negative affect your MS is having on sex life is impacting your relationships. Opening up and talking honestly with your doctor about any problems you’re having will allow you to work together and manage your MS in a way that’s best for you to improve your quality of life.
*The global vs.MS survey asked 1,075 people living with relapsing remitting MS and 580 care partners about the impact MS has on their lives.
- Sexuality and intimacy. Available at: https://www.msif.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/MS-in-focus-6-Intimacy-and-sexuality-English.pdf. Last accessed: March 2018.
- Guo, Z-N et al. Multiple sclerosis and sexual dysfunction Asian Journal of Andrology. 2012;14(4):530-535.
- Prévinaire JG et al. Sexual disorders in men with multiple sclerosis: evaluation and management. Ann Phys Rehabil Med. 2014;57(5):329-36.
- The World vs.MS Twitter community. Available at: https://twitter.com/TheWorldvsMS. Last accessed: March 2018.
- Ward-Abel, N and Sykes, J. Sexuality & MS: a guide for women. Multiple Sclerosis Trust. Available from: https://support.mstrust.org.uk/shop. Accessed March 2018.
- Webster, S. Sex & MS: a guide for men. Multiple Sclerosis Trust. Available from: https://support.mstrust.org.uk/shop. Accessed March 2018.
- vs.MS global survey of people living with relapsing MS (RMS) and RMS care partners. 2015.
- Redefining disability. Available at: https://www.vs-ms.com/education/. Last accessed: March 2017.