Sex, Intimacy, and Family Planning with Multiple Sclerosis
By Kimberly Castelo
One of the most common misconceptions for people living with Multiple Sclerosis, as well as for other chronic illnesses and diseases, is that because of this diagnosis, you are no longer a sexual being.
Society desexualizes people who have disabled bodies, and because of this, it is easy for those of us who experience things like MS to also experience shame around being desexualized, as well as struggles in our romantic relationships.
The way we understand and approach sex is influenced by our family of origin, our religion, our culture, society, and our past experiences of sex (i.e. sexual trauma). When you take this, and you add on an additional layer of something painful and uncertain like MS, it can definitely have an impact on us.
However, the idea that people with MS do not and cannot have an interest in sex could not be further from the truth.
Having MS doesn’t automatically mean you never want to have sex again. It does not mean that nobody will ever want to have sex with you. It does not mean that you will never have pleasurable, enjoyable, fulfilling sex again.
What it does mean, however, are the following things:
Sex with MS may look different than it did previous to your diagnosis
You may have to have more in-depth and open conversations about sex with your partner and your healthcare provider
You may experience some difficulties when engaging in sexual activities with MS, but it is not uncommon for people (with or without MS) to experience sexual problems)
In 2019, I did a live webinar with the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America in which I discussed sexual connection and intimacy for people with MS in relationships.
Along with this, I touched on the subjects of:
The importance of being open about sex
The myths and truths about sex (both with and without MS)
How to approach and begin family planning
Things to avoid when communicating with your partner(s)
And a Q & A at the end!
This webinar would be incredibly helpful for anyone who is, or who has a partner who is, experiencing MS in a relationship.
Kimberly (she/her) is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, Certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist, and a Certified Integrated Intimacy Professional. She has a private practice that focuses on sex therapy, attachment, social justice, and couples work.
Kimberly is a Washington State Supervisor, an AAMFT Supervisor, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor and an EFT Supervisor-in-training. Kimberly also provides sex supervision through the Modern Sex Therapy Institute where folx train to be sexual educators and therapists.
Kimberly is a national speaker, speaking on topics of faith, sexuality, grief, coping with Multiple Sclerosis, high tone pelvic floor, menopause and more! She is a gifted teacher and emphasizes the freedom that comes from education!