Life Advice

Sex and Back Pain: Tips for Improving Your Sex Life

Back pain can be excruciating. It can make even the simplest tasks (like bending over to pick something up off the floor, for example) cringingly painful.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is experienced by as many as 31 MILLION Americans, back pain is the “single leading cause of disability,” and experts estimate that 80 percent of people in the US will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

While back pain is common, that doesn’t make it any less awful to deal with. When our backs hurt, it’s difficult to do much of anything; what alone have a good sex life. As if back pain didn’t already suck enough, right?

Luckily, there are things we can do to decrease pain and improve our sex lives. Check out these four tips for improving our sex lives with back pain:

Find The Right Positions

According to Natalie Sidorkewicz (a doctoral researcher at Canada’s University of Waterloo who coauthored two studies that explored the movement of the spine during sex), who was interviewed for an article with Prevention, finding the right sexual position for our particular type of back pain is key to still enjoying intimacy with our partner despite back pain. For example, she explains how the missionary position with a towel or pillow under our lower back can help people who have any spinal pain and/or pain when bending backward whereas, “doggy style” is more comfortable for people who experience pain when bending forward. Being able to talk about our pain and find a position that works for us and our partner is going to be key to still maintaining intimacy throughout back pain episodes.

Spice Things Up A Bit

When we’ve been with the same person for a long time, it can be easy to get in a bit of a “sex rut.” Eventually, in any long-term committed relationship, we will have had seemingly the same sexual experience so often that it almost becomes a routine (or, actually becomes a routine). But it’s important to not allow sex to get boring. Sex shouldn’t be boring. It should be exciting, fun, and intimate.

Therefore, we should be trying to spice things up periodically. Sometimes a change as small as changing our sexual routine can be all we need to make the experience seem a bit more exciting. Or, if we want to experience something different we could consider things like sexy lingerie, toys, stimulating lubricants, exotic locations, different positions (particularly ones good to reduce back pain), or even bondage.

Consider If Medical Help Is Needed

By seeing our doctor, we can find out what is the cause of the pain and, hopefully, seek a treatment that will get rid of it or at least help. There are all kinds of options to treat the pain. For example, we could see a chiropractor or find the right mixture of medications that can make the pain more bearable. Or, if it’s necessary, we can receive neck and back surgical procedures in New Jersey to relieve some (or all) of the pain.

Don’t Make It All About Sex

When we’re in pain, having sex may be the last thing on our minds. We then might feel guilty for not satisfying our partner and feeling responsible for affecting intimacy. But this doesn’t help anyone. 

Intimacy can be achieved in several different ways (both sexual and non-sexual). For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, when dealing with chronic pain that makes sex difficult, we can try other ways to be intimate. They suggest things like using our hands to explore our partner’s body, holding hands, kissing, mutual masturbation, oral sex, or the use of a vibrator. While it’s awkward and frustrating, talking about our sexual difficulties only builds more intimacy.