Intimacy and Psoriasis: Overcoming Fears

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Intimacy troubles

Nearly one-third of people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis say their disease interferes with their love life, according to a National Psoriasis Foundation study. Fears of a relationship becoming sexual and the desire to hide psoriasis can extinguish a budding romance. Here’s what you can do conquer this anxiety.

  1. Acknowledge your condition

Work on feeling comfortable in your own skin and accepting your situation: that you have a chronic illness that requires diligent management. Acknowledge how psoriasis affects your daily activities and know that it generally doesn’t cause sexual dysfunction.

  1. Be open

There’s no right time to tell a partner you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, so follow your instinct. Some people might feel comfortable telling a potential lover right away; for others, that time may come when a relationship is more established. Either way, you’re helping to build a relationship that is strong enough to work around any obstacles related to your condition.

  1. Make it a ‘teachable moment’

Those who don’t have psoriasis may be unaware of how the condition affects intimacy and daily life. Let your partner know and make sure he or she understands that psoriasis isn’t contagious.

  1. Avoid flare-ups and discomfort

Help avoid irritation by using corticosteroids and other psoriasis treatments exactly as prescribed. Don’t apply high-concentration coal tar ointments to the penis, scrotum or vulva, or to areas with cracked skin.

  1. Protect yourself

Men may find it helpful to wear a lubricated condom during intercourse. After being intimate, cleanse the area using mild cleansers (no scrubs or perfumes), and reapply medication.