anonymous on September 12, 2011

I can’t lift my legs...what are some different ways my husband and I can increase our pleasure?

I have multiple sclerosis and use a walker. I cannot lift my legs over or behind my husband when in the missionary position, and this limits my pleasure. How can I accommodate my husband and increase our pleasure?

answered by Mitchell Tepper, PhD, MPH on September 12, 2011

I appreciate your question, and I’m happy to offer you my best thoughts. With a little creativity and communication, sex with multiple sclerosis (MS) can still be enjoyable.

First, you’re not alone. Many people with MS encounter some sexual problems. Researchers at the MS Center at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey found that nearly 70% of people with MS have at least one MS symptom that interferes with their sexual satisfaction “always” or “almost always.” And about 40% of women with MS said reaching orgasm takes longer.

But the good news is that – even with MS – there are still many ways you and your husband can enjoy yourselves in the bedroom.

If you haven’t already, talk openly with your husband. Communication is an important aspect of intimacy, and he may have some great ideas about how the two of you could increase your sexual pleasure.

These following possibilities may help, too:
  • Try lifting your arms to his sides and hooking your legs over each of your arms.
  • If you have the flexibility, lift your legs to your husband’s shoulders and let his body support them.
  • Place a pillow or folded blanket under your buttocks for stability and deeper penetration.
  • If you haven't already done so, ask your husband to help lift and position your legs, as described above.
  • Consider sexual positioning aids like the sex sling that can be found on websites that sell sexual aids. 
  • Try a “spooning” position. Lie on your side with your torso slightly bent and your husband behind you. You can position your legs as comfort permits.
  • Lie on your stomach with a pillow under you. This facilitates back entry and many women find this position stimulates the front wall of the vagina.
  • Stay lubricated. Loss of vaginal lubrication is a common complaint of women with MS, so be sure to keep a bottle of water-based lubricant handy for intercourse.
Also, I would encourage you to discuss your concerns about sexual enjoyment with your doctor. Perhaps you’re taking medications for MS that might need adjustment, thereby also affecting your ability to experience maximum sexual pleasure with your husband.

Thanks again for your question, and I wish you and your husband good luck in discovering new ways to experience a satisfying sex life with MS.

Related info:

Mitchell Tepper, PhD, MPH

Dr. Tepper directs sexual health education at An AASECT-certified sexuality educator and counselor, his areas of expertise include sexual dysfunctions, sexuality following disability or illness, pleasure and orgasm, relationships, and military and veteran couples' counseling. Dr. Tepper was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

Related Q&A's

What techniques can I try to get over my anxiety-related erectile dysfunction?
How can I enjoy sexual activity with my motor-nerve disease?
For people who get out of breath easily, what are some ways to still enjoy sex?