I have Degenerative Disc Disease with Sciatica. This causes daily pain in my lower back, legs and hips. It also affects my neck and shoulders. This condition makes it difficult to pick up anything heavy, twist at the waist without causing muscle spasms, sit cross legged, sit on hard surfaces, go from a supine position to a sitting position without assistance, and much more. It also makes sleeping comfortably in bed for the whole night next to impossible.
And yet, I’ve learned to make accommodations in my daily life so that I can continue in a somewhat normal manner. Instead of carrying in groceries, I put them in a little cart and push them in. Instead of standing in front of the sink and leaning over to wash dishes, I have a stool I sit on. I have also learned to make accommodations so that I can have a satisfying sex life.
One day my back was acting up, and my partner wanted to have sex. It had been acting up for several days, but I just didn’t want to put off having sex any longer, so we went ahead, with a few modifications. Lying on my side put less pressure on my back, so we opted for that. The rhythmic pelvic motions seemed to gently massage my lower back. As my partner caressed my skin, my pain seemed to recede into the background.
After a few days of this, my back didn’t seem to hurt as much, and seemed stronger. Could it be that sex is a good way to manage chronic pain?
I went looking for support for this idea. It turns out, there is some. According to Psychology Today,
“…research consistently shows that oxytocin not only increases emotional connection, it also promotes a sense of calm and well-being, and reduces the effects of stress (as measured by blood pressure and cortisol), all of which are relevant in reducing perceptions of pain. In fact, oxytocin is currently being tested as an avenue of treatment for neuropathic and inflammatory pain.” (1)
Oxytocin is released when the skin is caressed or massaged, and during orgasm. Also released are serotonin, phenylalanine, and natural endorphins, all of which increase feelings of satisfaction.
Even if we just lay in bed, hold each other and caress each others’ skin, this produces a powerful sense of well-being. And for the 30 seconds or so that it takes to have an orgasm, your pain will be totally forgotten. In the minute or two following orgasm, there will still be decreased levels of pain. At least, that’s been my experience.
And if you are alone, without a partner, well, orgasm is still possible. Invest in some “toys” and have a go at it. I have found orgasm followed by meditation helps prolong my feelings of physical well-being.
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