“Not tonight, honey. It’s not you, it’s Crohn’s.”
In the midst of a flare, you may not have the desire, or the ability, to be intimate, says Behm. Symptoms include increased pain with intercourse, in addition to leakage or sores that make the act itself pretty undesirable. A flare’s duration can be a little unpredictable, so Behm recommends being as open and honest as possible with your partner about why sex isn’t on the menu. Some ideas include:
- Suggest another form of intimacy. “My Crohn’s symptoms are pretty bad tonight, so maybe we can just cuddle.”
- Explain how they can get informed. If your partner is having a particularly difficult time accepting this consequence of Crohn’s, invite him or her to meet with your doctor to learn more.
Crohn’s conversations may start out a little awkward, but Behm notes that most people find their friends and loved ones are supportive and concerned, even if what they say is sometimes a little clumsy. Most of the time, you can’t go wrong in reassuring people that you are doing the best you can to take care of yourself — and perhaps give them some ideas for helping you out.