Interstitial cystitis patients may find intimacy uncomfortable at times. Men with IC may feel discomfort at the moment of ejaculation while women report their most intense discomfort in the 24 hours after sex. Why? Well, it’s primarily about the pelvic floor. Men experience their strongest pelvic floor contraction when they ejaculate while women experience about 24 to 36 hours of milder, yet longer pelvic floor contractions following intercourse.

Consider as well that the bladder itself may be more tender and, thus, won’t respond well to repeated, prolonged thrusting. One technique that can be very useful is the use of “tantric sex” where your goal is to get your partner to that point right before orgasm and then keep them there for as long as you can using gentle touch and so forth. Thus, when intercourse does happen, it’s often very short yet very VERY satisfying.

Some couples also enjoy using a male toy, such as the TENGA FlipHole or TENGA 3D Sleeves, for those moments when intercourse may be too uncomfortable. These are a lovely alternative to intercourse that can help a couple maintain their intimacy, affection and laughter in the bedroom.

Having an “after sex” routine to reduce muscle tension is also quite helpful including using heat, warm bathes and, possibly, an oral muscle relaxant, such as Baclofen. Vaginal valium suppositories are quite popular as well and may help reduce painful pelvic floor spasms.

More Resources That Can Help

  • ICN Guide for Romance and Sexuality offers several tips on how to make intimacy more comfortable
  • The Proactive Patient: Managing IC & Related Conditions offers fabulous chapters on sex and a section for the partners of IC patients. Written by husband and wife team, Andrew and Gaye Sandler
  • Secret Suffering – How Women’s Sexual and Pelvic Pain Affects Their Relationships – Patient stories, a husbands point of view, a same sex couples experience with pelvic pain, the dilemma confronting single women with chronic pain, faith and the poignant story of two men who experience sexual pain. They talk about the difficulties working with the medical community but the great hope promised by a new, far more accepting medical paradigm of chronic pelvic and sexual pain. The appendix offers 64 tips to relieve sexual and pelvic pain! (Book is sold out but has been reordered)