Sex & Spasticity

Cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries, among other disabilities, can involve spasticity. Your muscles might feel stiff and you might have to focus a lot of energy to move them. You might also experience spasms and pain as well. People often have day-to-day coping mechanisms to help manage their spasticity, but what do you do when you have spasticity and want to have sex?

Here are a few tips on dealing with sex and spasticity

My main tip for anything sex and disability-related is to have good, open communication with your sexual partners. You might worry that talking about your spasticity is not the sexiest thing to talk about, but you can make it fun, and it is important to your pleasure!

You don’t need to give your partner a textbook definition of spasticity or your disability. A good place to start is with how spasticity affects you. Where do you experience the most spasticity in your body? What can your partner do to help you feel relaxed? What positions do and don’t work for you? Allow your partner to ask questions and maybe touch and feel your body before you get sexual so they can become more familiar with how your body typically works and feels outside of sex.

Another good way to manage spasticity during sex is to try and time your medication around when you are going to be having sex. For example, if you know you feel the most relaxed 2 hours after you take your medication, try to have sex around that time! There is a huge myth that all sex needs to be spontaneous, which is simply not true. Scheduled sex can be just as fun and sexy as spontaneous sex. Also, if you use an “as needed” type of medication for your spasticity, you can absolutely use it for sex! Feeling good during sex is just as important as feeling good on a regular basis.

Having your partner give you a massage is not only a great way for you to relax, but it lets your partner feel exactly where you are the most spastic. They can keep that in mind for the rest of your fun time together. Massages are also very intimate and can be great foreplay.

Movies and TV shows often portray sex like this 5-minute activity where you race to orgasm. In real life, sex can be slow and relaxed if you want it to be. You and your partner(s) get to set the pace. For example, if you need a few minutes for your body to relax, that's totally fine. Or if you need to take a break during sex or stop completely, that is also okay. Just tell your partner how you feeling, whether it's good, bad, or if something needs to change. Any good partner is going to be open to whatever pace and style you might need to make it work.

Remember, too, that sex can happen many different ways. For example, if you are having a high spasticity day, you can just lay next to your partner and instruct them on how to get themself or you off. You can pick the toy and speed, and tell them how to maneuver it. You can still be super involved in the sex, without having to be as physically involved. Also, texting exactly what you want your partner to do before they arrive is not only sexy but it lets them know how you are feeling that day and what you are able/interested in doing.

There are a ton of fun toys and props that can help you be more comfortable during sex. Wedges and pillows can help get you in the most comfortable possible positions so that your body can relax. Toys like vibrators and dildos (and so much more) can help you reduce the physical labor of sex. Also, when you think about what positions would work for you, don’t limit yourself to just the typical sex positions. Think about what positions, in general, your body naturally feels most comfortable in. You can make almost any position work!

And don’t just focus on the negatives: your spasticity can actually benefit you! It can make holding certain positions easier. For folks with vulvas and vaginas, if your spasticity affects your PC muscles, it can make having multiple orgasms a lot easier. So use your spasticity to your advantage as much as you want.

Because of the lack of good information about spasticity and sex, you might think it is not possible to have a sex life if you experience spasticity. However, with good communication and a little creativity, you can definitely have good and fulfilling sex life, whatever that means to you!

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