This article was scientifically reviewed by Human Sexuality expert Dr. Laurie Mintz. She is a professor, researcher, private practitioner and Fellow of the American Psychological Association.
Our bodies, as miraculous as they are, are also complicated. There are so many things that they do for us on a daily basis, but with that comes the possibility of something feeling ‘not right’.
In conjunction with treating any ailments, it’s also important to remember that sexuality and sex is a basic need.
And for those who have their libido, yet are suffering with issues such as back pain, there is a way around it.
Sex and Back Pain
Did you know that back pain is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide? And sadly, a study showed that 37 percent of adults with lower back pain experienced difficulty during sex, and seven percent showed some difficulty.
Having said that, yes—back pain can be an obstacle that prevents someone from having satisfying sex. And this may give them a negative view on how to navigate their sex life. But, when you implement certain strategies, there is a possibility to have fulfilling sexual encounters.
Of course, the main thing is to take it easy and not exert yourself. If any pain or discomfort is felt, it’s advisable to stop, as it could worsen the condition.
But take note: what may work for one person may not work for another. Some may experience pain bending forward (flexion), and others may have difficulty bending backwards (extension intolerance).
First, if you have back pain, it’s important to realize that a sexual encounter doesn’t need to include intercourse. You can take turns pleasuring one another manually, orally, or with sex toys. On the other hand, if you want to include intercourse in your encounter, experimenting with different positions could bring about a huge amount of relief and happiness for those suffering with this type of body pain.
And so, here are 6 intercourse positions that may ease or prevent back pain. Trying them could allow those living with back pain to have comfortable and pleasure-inducing intimacy.
6 Sex Positions to Try if You Have Back Pain
1. The Missionary Sex Position
Missionary could be a great sex position for those with lower back pain, such as degenerative disc disease or disk problems.
If you’re on top, you could use your elbows to support your upper body, which could prove way less stressful than if you were to use your hands. If you’re on the bottom, simply placing a rolled-up towel or a small pillow under your lower back can provide lower back support.
2. The Doggy Style Sex Position
When you’re the giver of penetration during doggy style, it eliminates a lot of bending forward. You can also limit your back movement by using your hips as opposed to your back. This is why it may be invaluable for those who have pain when bending forward or for those who have trouble sitting down for long periods of time.
If you’re the receiving partner, you can use your elbows or hands to support your body. It could work like a charm, as it allows the person with back pain to adjust their back based on their comfort.
3. The Spooning Sex Position
By lying on your side, it can reduce a lot of pressure on the back for those who have flexion-intolerant lower back pain.
There are two ways to practice this position. One could be if you and your partner face each other (even though this isn’t technically the spooning position). In this position, it could ease discomfort for those who experience pain when they sit for long periods of time.
The second way to practice this sex position is when partners face away from one another (the more apt description of the spoon position). Take note, however, if you experience pain when bending forward, this may not be the most suitable position for you.
4. The Partner-On-Top Sex Position
For those who find most movements painful, it may be invaluable to position yourself on your back, either lying down flat or sitting on a sturdy chair.
In this way, your partner can straddle you and take the reins by engaging in more body movement than you’re able to.
5. The Face Down Sex Position
If you’re suffering with back pain, you could position yourself on your stomach. This position is similar to doggy style except it doesn’t involve arching the back at all.
Instead, you could place a pillow under your chest or your pelvis for more comfort. This could also aid in your penetrating partner accessing your genitals more easily without flexing your spine too much.
6. The Seated Sex Position
If you’re the receiver of penetration, sitting on your partner’s lap could relieve you of pain during sex. This is because it’ll give you more control over your back’s position.
Or, if you choose to be the seated partner, you can stabilize your back and minimize flexion.
Other Tips for Better Sex with Back Pain
While navigating your sex life with back pain, there are a few other things you can do to help relieve your discomfort.
Take a hot bath or shower before sex – This is a great idea for those who have muscle spasms. It’ll also relieve tense muscles, and promote blood flow for even better pleasure.
Take a pain reliever or pain-relief cream before sex – Taking a non-steroid anti-inflammatory can help as it’ll ease some pain and reduce inflammation.
Use your hips and knees instead of your back during sex – Even slight adjustments could provide relief and allow you to enjoy your sexual experience. Try to use your hips and knees instead of your spine.
Get creative and find other ways to pleasure each other – Remember sex doesn’t need to include intercourse. Take turns pleasuring each other with tongues, hands, and toys. You can even pleasure yourself while your partner watches and holds you.
Use a pillow for support during sex – Depending on the location of your pain, using a pillow can provide immense relief. Place it under your neck, back, or hips to find your bliss.
Communicate and work together – It’s often not very easy to admit that sex is uncomfortable. But when you talk with your partner openly and honestly, you can work together to make the experience wonderful for both of you.
Take it slow – Navigate your pain by taking it slow, and try to incorporate mindfulness. If you feel discomfort, change positions or stop. It’s about learning how your body responds and finding a way to enjoy sex that’s easier and pleasurable.
With that, we hope that you can navigate your sex life despite your back pain. We really advise that you make use of these tips – especially the ones regarding taking it slow and communicating. Your comfort and health are important.