Today's writing prompt is from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery: Migraines and Mojo: How has living with Migraine/Headache Disorders affected your sex life?
So who do I have to kill for coming up with this prompt? Teri? Diana? Ellen? Come time for the American Headache and Migraine Association patient conference in November, and one of you is dead meat. OK, I’m kidding. Kind of. But my parents will read this. And probably little Mrs. Francis Turner. And I’m going to have to talk about sex. There, I said it. SEX.
I'm going to address this, because it's a big issue in any marriage, but especially when a spouse is chronically ill. I've always said if my experiences can help someone else, then maybe I don't go through them in vain. I am updating this now because I feel I shied away a bit when I first wrote, and maybe I am just older and braver now, but people struggling deserve more than my original post.
In my experience, sex and migraines are mutually exclusive during a migraine attack, with exception of a few times the upper half of my body and the lower half of my body weren't communicating, if you know what I mean. In those few instances that I could even imagine having sex with a "minor" migraine, it actually helped a little. Strange, I know, but between the distraction and that type of release, it worked like a drug! 🤩
In general though, the fact that it's not often imaginable that I could have sex and a migraine at the same time means a chronic Migraineur like me needs to have married a very patient man. And luckily I did. I have a feeling that at times sex in every marriage takes patience. Well, sex in our marriage takes oodles of patience. Imagine if saying “not tonight, honey, I have a headache,” wasn't just an excuse, but was a real life problem that you spent countless hours and dollars and time in your marriage trying to remedy and might even mean a trip to the ER instead of a romantic evening at home? Patience? Yes. Our marriage, not just our sex life, takes lots of patience.
Actually, my husband says our marriage is more like, "I don't have a headache tonight! There's an opportunity!"
We miss date nights because of migraine. Plans or promises for romance made early in a day may be completely ruined by the time evening rolls around. I am thankful for patience.
I have to say with sex, among the chronically ill or not, communication is also key. Even when sex is off the table, cuddling, kissing, talking, and other forms of intimacy help keep our bond strong. You can still talk about each other's needs, and sometimes I think recognizing that there are needs you want to meet but can't at that moment is cathartic and healing. It took some counseling to figure this stuff out, and we are still learning, but we've made great strides since I first became ill.
It hasn’t always been this way, luckily. At times I am “more well” than others. For my parent’s sake, and little Mrs. Francis’s sake, let’s just say less patience is required during those times and leave it at that. Just like with every other issue we have discussed, we have to make the good days, and even just the bearable days, matter. Sex isn't the most important thing in a marriage, but it does strengthen your bond and covers a multitude of annoyances! 😉
We have learned recently we can’t always count on my health, but we are married and committed to each other anyway, and can thankfully count on each other. If you read this blog often you’ll find that I think my husband is near saintly, and he tells me his universe revolves around me, and he makes me believe it, regardless of what the mojo has been like around the house lately. We take time to hug and kiss and cuddle on the couch, and show each other affection, regardless of how I feel. We put each other first in life, and we talk about everything there is to talk about, including the mojo level at any given time. We laugh and have fun together as much as possible. I'm convinced these little forms of intimacy keep us strong despite the hindrances of chronic migraine pain.
So, migraines and mojo? More like Migraines, Mojo, Patience, Communication, and alternate forms of intimacy and affection. Without the other ingredients, good luck managing the Migraines and Mojo on their own!
June, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders. The Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is issued by FightingHeadacheDisorders.com