By Biodun Ogunbo
The Irish Viagra
The lady went to her doctor to complain about her husbands’ failing libido. The doctor said, ‘have you tried Viagra’? ‘Oh, no, he will never take Viagra’, she said. ‘He will not even take an Aspirin’. ‘What about Irish Viagra then?’ said the doctor? ‘What is Irish Viagra?’ she replied. ‘Well, just put the Viagra in his cup of coffee and he will never even taste it’. ‘Try it and give me a call in a week to let me know how things went’.
She called the doctor in a week and said this. ‘I put the Viagra in his coffee and the effect was instant’. ‘He suddenly perked up after the coffee, pushed me down on the settee, tore my clothes off and had me there and then’. ‘Doctor, it was horrible and totally disgusting’. ‘Why, was that such a terrible thing?’ asked the doctor. ‘No’, she said. ‘It was the best sex I have had in 5 years! But, sure as I am sitting here, I will never be able to show my face in Starbucks again!’
Sex and the spine
Many of my patients are concerned about when to resume sexual relations after spine surgery. So, I thought it would be great to share my advice for them with others who may be in the same predicament.
Pain from arthritis can dampen enthusiasm for sex and make it a difficult experience for the sufferer. It reduces desire and places sex at the bottom the sufferers’ to-do lists. It also frustrates their partners who may not fully appreciate the physical and psychological toll it places on the sufferer. This may even be one of the reasons surgery becomes an attractive option.
So, both partners are understandably anxious to resume relations as soon as possible after surgery on the spine. One point, of course, is that the performance of the operations could be on the neck (cervical), chest (thoracic) and the lower back (lumbar). Each of these areas brings different challenges when it comes to sex. Also, note that the performance of the operations depends on the problem. The operations could be a minor, major and even a complex spine operation.
For operations on the lumbar spine (the back), the operation could range from a simple discectomy, simple decompression, laminectomy to more major surgeries with instrumentation using pedicle screw fixation. The time frame for resuming sex depends on the type and extensive nature of the surgery. Different people undergo different operations, so are unique in a sense. Do not copy or compare yourself to others.
If you are ready to begin having sex again after back surgery, you have already won part of the psychological battle. It is important to talk to your partner and if possible discuss this freely in the presence of your doctor. This helps to allay fears, anxieties and miscommunication. If the doctor advises you to resume sex, you can start slow and work gradually towards an activity level that you can tolerate. Fortunately, for my patients, recent back surgery hasn’t prevented sex from being a priority for most.
The extent of the operation and the success of the procedure will affect the period in which one can safely engage in full sexual activity once again. On the personal level, some people may take months before sex is an option, while others might need only days. It is an individual thing. For most of my patients, sexual relations can commence within a week after discharge and after the wound is fully healed. However, patients who have had spinal fixation may have to wait up to a month before resuming such activities. Sex after back surgery can have some risks, especially disruption of the fixation.
Positions of comfort
Following back surgery, safe resumption of sexual relations can be satisfying and fulfilling. Attention to proper positioning and comfort will enhance the return to intimacy. There are positions more comfortable for the patient and you should experiment to discover what works best for you. Keeping your back health in mind is important and it will help you enjoy a happy, healthy post-surgical sex life.
Use of cushions, pillows and supports can help improve comfort and reduce the risk of injury. Trying new positions during sex can also work to reduce stress and strain on the spine of the recovering party.
That being said, the best way could be the face to face or missionary position for the patient. You are flat on your back and that helps to keep your back stable. Let your partner do the work and you just remain.
Lying sideways as in the spoon position is also good. The female who had surgery can use pillows to support the upper leg. The male can drape the upper leg over their partner, taking care not to twist the spine.
Standing position is another position that works for either a male or a female following back surgery. If the woman has undergone surgery, she should lean on something firm and stay upright to avoid excessive bending or twisting of the spine. If the man, he should also avoid excessive bending or twisting motions.
You should communicate with your doctor and partner to agree on when you can safely resume relations. Be patient, gentle and ease back into your sexual health gradually. (Punch)