New Leaflet: Personal Relationships – Intimacy in ME/CFS

May 24, 2021


Intimacy among those who are disabled by ME/CFS can be challenging, and it can be just as difficult to talk and to write about. But personal relationships are an important issue and it is something that the ME Association has been asked to feature by those in the community.

We hope that by reading the introduction from Dr Lisa Dvorjetz (Hon. Psychology Adviser to the ME Association) and the honest accounts from people with ME/CFS, it will help you to talk about any similar concerns with your partner. You might also benefit from some of the suggestions that are made, which could lead to a more fulfilling relationship.

All humans have a fundamental need to feel connected to and build intimate relationships with others. The diagnosis of a chronic health condition can severely impact the way we view ourselves as well as how we relate to our partners and loved ones…

“Just as the experience of intimacy is a very personal one, people’s experience of ME/CFS is also  unique to them and their relationship. As we will read about in this leaflet, some members of the ME/CFS community have spoken about the impact that pain, energy levels, physical disability and emotional wellbeing have had on their sense of who they are as sexual beings.”

Dr Lisa Dvorjetz

“My partner is very understanding but I wish I wasn’t so exhausted and in pain to be able to enjoy intimacy”

Helen

“Physically it was all too much; it hurt if he touched me. Sex as we knew it had to change…”

Fiona

“We never talk about it. I feel I let him down every single day”

Peter

“Any sex we do have has to be carefully planned”

Stacey

“No sex leads to low mental health”

Gemma

“It’s a bit hard to approach someone for sex when you’ve just rescued them from the bathroom floor… again!”

Joanna

“My partner is incredibly understanding about my condition and very supportive. As always, good communication is the key”

Henry
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