Sexual life and Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease affects the autonomic nervous system and, therefore, can affect sexual performance. Less agility and flexibility can be a problem. Medications to fight the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, like many other medications, can have a negative impact on sexual performance. Common in people with the disease, depression can also decrease sexual energy and desire.
Sexual issues are among the most important communication problems in couples. Perceptions of masculinity and femininity as well as expectations of intimate relationships are unique to each. Self-image, body image and self-esteem all affect the quality of sexual relations. The physical problems caused by Parkinson’s disease can also have particular effects on sexual activity and satisfaction.
Some men with Parkinson’s disease may have problems with impotence. In these cases, drugs for erectile dysfunction are often helpful. They can be taken in combination with drugs to fight the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and are generally more effective in younger age groups. However, they may be discouraged in some cases of heart problems. If you have problems with impotence, consult a urologist to discuss the best medical way to solve the problem.
In women, Parkinson’s disease may have a greater impact on the desire to have sex than on performance. Some will experience sexual arousal more easily while others will feel less desire. The onset of Parkinson’s disease during the years of hormonal fluctuations surrounding menopause can be particularly difficult. Women should consult a gynecologist and a neurologist on how to combine hormone replacement therapy (if they choose this type of treatment) and medications to combat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Couples will need to be creative about when and how to have sex. Penetration provides pleasure, but other forms of touching, which may still need to be explored, can also provide sexual satisfaction that will minimize sexual dysfunction. Preliminaries and touch can take up more space. Intimacy may be shared in the morning rather than at night, as was the case before. The use of satin sheets, lubricant or body oils can facilitate mobility and increase pleasure. A sex therapist can help couples find ways to keep their intimacy.
Changes in sexuality can cause tension in the couple. It is important to talk about sexuality and to try to find solutions to the sexual dysfunction caused by Parkinson’s disease. Sometimes you have to start with the speech therapy, because the speech is often altered, which has the effect of preventing discussion in the couple.
Communication is the key to maintaining a relationship in which respect, tenderness and love can be expressed freely and warmly.