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Intimacy during COPD Treatment

People living with COPD can and do have active and fulfilling sex lives. It's true that COPD can make many activities challenging, inclduing being intimate. The key is communication with your partner. Discuss your fears and concerns, as well as any limitations you perceive having, openly with your loved one.

  • Plan time for intimacy when you are rested.
  • Experiment with other activities that are intimate, but require less movement and exertion such as caressing, hugging, massage and manual stimulation.
  • Experiment with positions that require less energy.
  • The partner who does not have COPD should make the majority of the movements.
  • If you use an inhaled medicine before exercise, ask your doctor about also using the inhaled medicine before sexual activity. Have your short-acting medicine available, if needed, during sexual activity.
  • Plan sexual activity when your long-acting medicine is at its peak.
  • Ask your doctor about increasing your oxygen flow rate during sexual activity.

Remember: Communication with your partner can ease many of your concerns about intimacy.

Caregiver Tip: If your partner has COPD, they might be self-conscious during intimacy. You may need to offer some reassurance that it is fine for him or her to use oxygen or to take more passive positions during intimacy.

    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed December 23, 2017.

    Page Last Updated: February 4, 2019

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