Life after a back injury—or with chronic neck and back pain—might initially seem incompatible with sex. After all, we often frame sex in ways that don’t exactly scream great back health: wild, impromptu, reckless, and rough. But match the right approach with a carefully-chosen position (and sex toy), and the possibilities for sex, even with back injury and pain, are not only countless, but exciting and fulfilling.
Having great sex after a back injury is all about having a great plan for sex, one predicated on open communication of your needs and wants with your sexual partner.
Sex with back pain or injury takes planning, and the more you work with your partner to create that plan the better. Discuss in advance the positions, speed, and toys you would like to use, as well as the overall mood of the sex you and your partner desire. Tell your partner what you are able to do physically, and which motions or angles you need to avoid for your back health. It might not be a sexy conversation, but it’s one you’ll want to have before the mood strikes.
This won’t be possible for every relationship or sexual partner, but for those who would feel comfortable taking your partner to a doctor appointment—do so! More than that, let your partner join in the conversation. They may have important questions that you overlooked or ideas the doctor needs to address. Indeed, your partner might even be afraid of hurting you or exacerbating your injury—they may need to hear from your doctor that sex is possible before they truly feel comfortable.
What kind of orgasms do you have? Some people are a quiet storm, while others an unruly, full-body experience. But wild, unrestrained movements can aggravate injuries and pain. Plan to support your neck and spine during orgasm and, if necessary, practice restraining your reaction to safe movements.
There is no one universally accepted position that will be the best and easiest for your spine. Instead, the viability of different positions depends entirely on you, your partner, and your injury. Still, some positions just undeniably put less strain on the back, while many well-known positions can be adapted to make them more viable for sex after a back injury. You should discuss options for sexual positioning with your doctor to find the combination that works best with your level of injury and pain, but some of these will likely fit the bill.
The simplest solution is often to have sex—in so many position variations!—while lying firmly on your back, with a pillow to support your neck (and one for your lower spine, if possible or helpful). Be careful when raising your legs, especially if you plan to put them over your partner’s shoulders during sex; the more you raise your legs and bend your knees, the more strain it puts on your lower back. Sudden thrusting motions against your thighs and hips in this position can also strain the lower back.
If you are the one doing the thrusting, and crouching or bending forward is difficult or painful for you (as it might be if you have spinal stenosis), then this most classic of classic positions can easily be adapted to accommodate standing. Enter your partner from a standing position as they sit or lay on a bed or chair. Use your hips to thrust.
If your pain or injury is exacerbated by standing or leaning backward, then the flexion of this position may bring some relief to your back. Also sometimes called the Fetal Position, this is the perfect angle for deep and intimate sex that doesn’t require aggressive torsion. Spooning sex is a great option whether the big or little spoon is the partner with the back pain.
It’s vital to remember that sex has many definitions. Oral sex can offer a way to remain intimate without requiring heavy motion or pressure on your back. And bringing a vibrator into bed can allow you to play with penetration without putting excessive strain on your back. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking penetrative sex is the be-all and end-all of intercourse and intimacy. But if you do want to pursue penetration without exacerbating your back pain, positioning aids may help.
Sex toys can make sex seem more exotic, untamed, and wild. And while they still do that for someone with a back injury, the right toy or aid can also be an essential part of your sex life after your injury—increasing your comfort and helping you and your partner create a more intimate, fun experience.
Back injuries and pain shouldn’t preclude you and your partner from an expansive, fulfilling sex life. Open communication, careful positioning, and the right toy will make sex after a back injury more possible, and open the door to even greater experimentation down the road.
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