152 chapter 7: Sexuality
Painful muscles and joints
Sometimes a disability, such as arthritis, will cause a woman
to have pain when she moves around more than usual.
If this happens to you, heat can help ease pain. Use
cloths soaked in warm water on painful or swollen
joints, or take a warm bath before you have sex. This
can help your body relax so you enjoy sex more. If
you use medicines to help your pain, try taking them
at a time of day that will help you feel good when you
are getting ready to have sex.
When a woman with a disability such as cerebral palsy or a paralysis becomes
sexually excited, her muscles may suddenly get tight (muscle spasms). A muscle
spasm is not dangerous or harmful, unless it goes on for a long time. You do not
need to stop having sex. Sometimes, pressing gently on the tight muscle can help
ease the spasm. Sometimes, gently stretching the muscle can also ease the spasm.
But do not pull on the muscle or try to break the spasm. If you take medicine to
prevent muscle spasms, it may help to take the medicine before having sex.
Bladder and bowel care
It is best to pass stool and urine before having sex. Also, if a leg bag is used to
collect urine from a catheter, make sure it is empty. To avoid bladder and bowel
accidents during sex, it may help to not drink or eat for a short while before sex.
If a urine catheter stays in all the time, it can be taped or tied out of the way
during sex. Make sure the tube does not get bent or twisted. It is also possible to
take out a fixed (Foley) catheter for up to 4 hours. But before you do this, great care
must be taken to prevent infection (see pages 102 to 104). Usually, it is best to leave
the catheter in during sex.
If a woman removes her catheter during sex, she will likely pass urine during sex.
Because of the catheter, her bladder is not used to holding urine inside and urine
will leak out. There is also a chance she will pass stool during sex. Keep a cloth or
towel close by to catch the urine or stool if this does happen.
It can help to discuss the possibility that this may happen ahead of time
with your partner. This is a difficult subject, and every woman will talk about it
differently. Some women treat it like any other part of life. Other women use humor
and find a way to laugh about it.
IMPORTANT A condom can tear or break when it rubs against a catheter. To help
prevent this, use a water-based lubrication jelly on the outside of the condom or
inside the vagina.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007