Anyone who has tried to get intimate while suffering a flare-up knows that the benefits of sex for arthritis are something easier talked about than achieved. Issues with mobility and grip strength can be frustrating, painful, and uncomfortable, making sex feel like a chore. However, with a few changes in position and the addition of a couple of sex toys, sex (and all the benefits it brings) can be possible for you.
Repositioning Your Outlook on Sex and ArthritisArthritis can hit you pretty much anywhere you have a joint, causing stiffness and pain with movement. Common trouble spots for arthritis include the hands and wrists for the upper body, and the pelvis and knees for the lower body. Depending on the location of your arthritis, you can change up your position to reduce the problems it causes during sex. Below we’ll break down some position suggestions based on which partner has arthritis, and where in their body it resides.
Pelvis and Knee Arthritis Sex Positions
If your knees are inflamed, the last thing you want to be doing is doggie style. Same goes for any standing or crouching positions that can exacerbate your pain. Try these positions instead.
Positions for Women
- Missionary. While it might be a bit too “tame” for some folks, the classics are classics for a reason. The missionary position allows you to connect with your partner while limiting the impact on your hips and knees.
- Spooning. The spooning position may be a bit difficult to manage at first, but once you get the hang of it, it can be life-changing. It takes the position of your normal nighttime cuddle up a notch, allowing you and your partner to get as close as possible. This works especially well if both you and your partner have arthritis problems.
Positions for Men
- Cowgirl/Reverse Cowgirl. This is a switch on missionary that works well for men suffering from arthritis. (As a bonus, ladies, it’s great for clitoral stimulation as well!)
- Seated. Think of this as a lap dance with benefits! The individual with arthritis would be seated in a chair, while their partner takes control from the top. Facing them, they can ride their partner in the seated position. (This is another one that’s great for stimulating the clitoris!)
Hands and Wrists Arthritis Sex Positions
Any position that requires a lot of gripping or arm strength is likely going to give you problems if your arthritis is in your wrists and hands. Choose some of these hands-free positions instead.
Positions for Women
- Sling assisted. Using a sling to hold your legs in place means that you don’t have to use your hands, eliminating the pain in your hands and wrists. A well-made sex sling can support you in just about any position by taking the pressure off your joints. Slings can be very versatile, allowing you to maintain even more adventurous sex positions for an extended period.
- Splitting Bamboo. This one is straight out of the Kama Sutra, and offers a twist on missionary. In this position, the woman lays on her back while her partner takes a seated or kneeling position straddling one of her legs. She then puts the other leg above his pelvis (maybe even resting on his shoulder), essentially scissoring her partner’s pelvis.This position allows you to lock in the position without the need to grip on with your hands, though it can be difficult to get the hang of at first. Try using it in conjunction with a sex sling if it proves to be too much of a challenge unassisted.
Positions for Men
- Doggie Style. This is a position that can take pressure off your arms and wrists, and can even become more exuberant with a doggie style strap. The strap can be wrapped around your forearms and allows you to grip your partner’s hips while thrusting without pressure on your hands or wrists.
- Froggy Style. This one involves the man sitting on the edge of the bed or lying down while his partner crouches in his lap. While this is a great position for men suffering from arthritis, keep in mind that your partner is going to need a lot of control and strength to maintain it.
Of course, you don’t have to stick to one position. Switching it up makes the sex more exciting and reduces the potential for repetitive motion aches and pains. You can also mix a few of the positions together. Mainly, look for positions that allow you and your partner’s bodies to connect naturally—and of course, don’t forget the foreplay.
Toys that Stimulate Before and During Sex
One thing that a lot of people with arthritis struggle with is grip strength, especially when trying to stimulate their partners. Stiffness in the hands and wrists can make it difficult to massage and titillate your partner’s erogenous zones. There are more than a few toys that do a lot of the work for you, allowing you to focus on the pleasure rather than the pain.
Compact Massagers. A finger massager kit allows you to stimulate your partner’s erogenous zones without the need to grip a toy, or the pressure that repetitive motion can often cause on sensitive wrists.
Ben Wa Balls. Ben wa balls allow for long-lasting and completely hands-free stimulation. They can be inserted for vaginal play, or they can be placed just inside the labia, to stimulate the clitoris during sex. These small balls can have a big impact, so feel free to get creative.
Vibrating Straps. A doggie-style strap, like the one mentioned above, is especially useful for increasing stability in a number of positions by wrapping around your partner and making it easier to pull them close to you. And if it’s a vibrating strap, your partner will receive greater g-spot stimulation without you needing to hold a vibrator.
Nipple Clips. Nipples are sensitive for both men and women, so a good way to provide ongoing stimulation is with some nipple clips. For arthritis sufferers, you’ll likely want to choose nipple clips that have a slider adjuster rather than a screw style one, to make it easier to place and adjust them.
The fact that you have arthritis shouldn’t hold you back from having amazing sex. Use it as an opportunity to get creative. You may find that you have some desires you didn’t even know about, like an appetite for anal play or a desire to be dominated. Arthritis could be the catalyst that helps you explore you and your partners kinkier sides.
The only limitations when you’re considering sex and arthritis are what you feel comfortable doing. [link to communication post when live] There are more than a few proven positions for sex success, but don’t let yourself be limited by that. Get experimental, take a few risks, and you may find that sex with arthritis isn’t just possible, it’s better than it ever was!