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Sex and sexual dysfunction

The World vs.MS

Family planning & relationships

27.04.18

Sex and intimate relationships are an important part of life for most people but sexual dysfunction is common in MS.1,2 Being open and honest about any problems you’re having with your doctor or even your partner can feel embarrassing – but you’re not alone!

We’ve gathered experiences and opinions from The World vs.MS community about how their MS symptoms affect their sex lives. If any of their experiences feel familiar to you, don’t suffer in silence, let your doctor know how you’re feeling.

Up to 80% of women and up to 90% of men with MS report some sexual complaints or concerns at some point in their lives1,3 And in our MS community poll, 40% of participants reported that their MS was ‘getting in the way’ of their sex life at least some of the time.4

An unsatisfactory sex life does not have to be part of living with MS.2,6

Some people believe symptoms affecting their sex lives are an inevitable consequence of MS that must be endured, but there may be ways you can work with your doctor to understand and deal with the cause of any problems you’re experiencing.2,6

There are three main causes of sexual dysfunction in MS – they can all impact each other, worsening the overall problem.1

Because sex isn’t just a physical act, sexual problems can affect intimacy and personal relationships.1,7

However, many people find it awkward or embarrassing to talk about sex.1

*The global vs.MS survey asked 1,075 people living with relapsing remitting MS and 580 care partners about the impact MS has on their lives.

References
1.Sexuality and intimacy. Available at: https://www.msif.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/MS-in-focus-6-Intimacy-and-sexuality-English.pdf. Last accessed: March 2018. 2.Guo, Z-N et al. Multiple sclerosis and sexual dysfunction Asian Journal of Andrology. 2012;14(4):530-535. 3.Prévinaire JG et al. Sexual disorders in men with multiple sclerosis: evaluation and management. Ann Phys Rehabil Med. 2014;57(5):329-36. 4.The World vs.MS Twitter community. Available at: https://twitter.com/TheWorldvsMS. Last accessed: March 2018. 5.Ward-Abel, N and Sykes, J. Sexuality & MS: a guide for women. Multiple Sclerosis Trust. Available from: https://support.mstrust.org.uk/shop Accessed March 2018. 6.Webster, S. Sex & MS: a guide for men. Multiple Sclerosis Trust. Available from: https://support.mstrust.org.uk/shop Accessed March 2018. 7.vs.MS global survey of people living with relapsing MS (RMS) and RMS care partners. 2015. 8.Redefining disability. Available at: https://www.vs-ms.com/education/. Last accessed: March 2017. 9.https://www.theworldvsms.com/intimacy/ 10.https://www.theworldvsms.com/emotional-burden/

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