Sex, Contraception and Chronic fatigue

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Hiya everyone,

I’ve been really putting off posting about this – I find it such a difficult topic to discuss but I've looked everywhere and it just doesn't seem to be something anyone's talking about. Anyway, it’s gotten to the point now where I could really do with hearing how other people cope with the effect of chronic fatigue on their sex lives!

I’m 28 years old and have been with my boyfriend for nearly 11 years, I’ve had CFS for just over a year and a half and in that time it’s had a huge impact on my relationship, particularly the sexual side. I was just wondering to what extent other people have an issue with the sexual side of their relationships and how they deal with that.

First of all, I have found that my libido has decreased to almost nothing – I do really miss intimacy but, in all honesty, it’s not something I look forward to anymore because it makes me feel so unwell. I often find that I have to stop sex half-way through because I get dizzy, shaky or light-headed. My boyfriend has also said that he’s reluctant to initiate anything anymore because he doesn’t like the way we always have to stop or the way it can make me feel so unwell. So we’re at a point where we rarely have sex and it’s something I’m really struggling to come to terms with.

I’m also having a headache with contraception because I have been on microgynon 30 for almost 11 years but, on average, I forget 3 pills per pack… I would be more worried about pregnancy if sex was a regular thing but at this point I feel like I’m taking tables for no reason but I’m also aware that in the rare event that we do have sex I’m not as protected as I would like to be because I keep forgetting to take them. My GP recommended the implant, injection and the hormonal and copper coil but I’m scared of change at this point because I’m struggling with the impact of CFS on my health and don’t want to risk some of the quite unpleasant side effects there’s a chance of experiencing whilst also having to deal with CFS. I’ve been tempted to come off the pill altogether and just use barrier methods but my GP advised against this – so I’m really at a loss for what to do and really don’t know who to talk to about this – I feel really stupid but I’m finding all of this really overwhelming and upsetting!


Anyway, thanks for listening and I’d love to hear your experiences or any thoughts you have on this! 

0 likes, 26 replies


26 Replies

  • Posted

    hiya! after trialing a few other birth controls to see if they would help alleviate the PMDD that developed with my CFS, i finally tried the mirena IUD. mirena didn't help alleviate symptoms either (turns out i had a tropical disease called schistosomiasis that i've been battling 4 years; a simple deworming medication resolved my CFS issues last month), but perhaps mirena IUD might be a good fit for you. a bit painful to have placed, but once it is in, you're set for 5 years.
    • Posted

      Hi there - wow, how did they eventually figure out that that was what was causing your cfs? Apart from he placement of the coil did you find you got along quite well with it? 
  • Posted

    Hi Toni.

    I don't think using condoms is a bad idea - as long as you make sure there's always a pack handy. If the pill is affecting your health it would be wise to come off it and avoid hormones and/or invasive implements for the time being. If you're not doing it much anyway why put your body through the extra stress whilst also risking pregnancy if you remain on the pill but miss them. Condoms are pretty safe if used properly - the downside being a little disruptive maybe. You may even find coming off the pill affects your libido in a more positive way. There are herbal preparations available out there to increase libido, but as with anything new go with caution. I don't seem to have any ill-effects from horny goat weed - although generally marketed at men seems to work just as well with ladies.

     So don't just give up and lose interest. Sex is like chocolate. One forgets how good it is when one don't taste for a while and when one does, one usually goes back for more.

    What is your level of other activities? Can you replace it with anything? Eg. Are you still managing to clean or cook? Are you working? Leave the vacuum cleaner in the corner, order a take-away, take a day (or 2) off to recover. I'm sure you and your partner could find imaginative ways to make sex work if you want it to.  Adreneline and high arousal can help temporarily block out pain and swim the dizziness. Try and relax as much as you can and be kind to youself.

    Hope things work out.


    • Posted

      Hi Olivetree,

      Thank you for your thoughtful response! I've not heard of that herbal supplement - I'll go look that up and have a nosey. I think coming off the pill to see if that did have a positive impact on my libido was something I was considering.

       I've managed to get myself into a super stable routine as of late which has had a really good impact on the way I feel and reducing the severity of my symptoms which has been nice - I am currently a graduate student so I make sure that the only activity I do in a day is 2 hours of my university work , making simple meals, and a 30-minute walk and that leaves me feeling tired but not overly fatigued. I had to move back home when I became unwell so luckily housework is shared between all of my family members.  

      I think on the whole we're finding it very tricky adjusting to things being so different. From my point of view I am missing my libido and then when I do feel well enough and in the mood I feel quite disheartened with  the impact that sexual activity (not just penetrative sex) has on how I feel - I find it quite frustrating getting dizzy and having to stop all of the time - I suppose there's no easy solution, I think having a good moan about it has helped me though haha! We do talk about it a lot which reassures me and I am hopeful that we'll figure something out!

      Thanks again! smile

  • Posted

    I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to respond to me and provide me with such helpful advice - I am feeling in a much better place and it's felt really good to be able to have an open conversation about something that I've not really been able to talk about before

    Many, many thanks!

  • Posted

    My husband has had a very severe case of CFS and Fibromyalgia for the last 30 years.  We've been married for almost 36 years, and he became completely and totally bedridden and unable to even get out of bed without falling down onto the floor for about two decades.  I had to help him just to get to the bathroom.  He couldn't even take showers because he was way too sick and weak.  Needless to say, he certainly couldn't perform sexually, and although he no longer is 100% bedridden, and can walk around somewhat, he still is not able to.  We just had to completely give it up.  He's doing good if he can just hug me (which is also difficult due to his severe Fibromyalgia pain).  But we are thankful that he can at least get up out of bed now without me always having to be at his side to catch him if he falls, and we're thankful that he isn't completely incapacitated and totally bedridden anymore.



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