According to statistics, around 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives (1). What’s more, back pain isn’t just the leading cause of disability worldwide, but it also seems to be the reason why so many people are unhappy with their sex lives.
According to a survey conducted by SpineUniverse on Sexual Satisfaction and Back Pain, respondents revealed interesting information about how their back pain related to their sex lives;
- 72% of sexually active respondents reported that they had sex less frequently than before their back pain began.
- 70% of respondents found their sex life less satisfying since the onset of back pain.
- 61% of respondents indicated that back pain had made their relationship with their partner more difficult.
Additionally, in a study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 81% of participants with low back pain reported sexual problems.
How can you enjoy sex with back pain?
There are a few positions that you can try in the bedroom if you’re struggling with back pain. That said, it should be mention that you will need to get a sound diagnosis from a medical professional before you try to spice things up in the bedroom.
Follow the diagnosis, you can then pick your doctor’s brain about which of the below positions can either help or hinder your performance. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t shy away from sharing information with your doctor because believe it or not, there’s literally nothing they haven’t heard before.
Sex positions to try for back pain
It should be mentioned that a study published in Spine found that a few of the below positions were found to be the most comfortable for people with back pain. Enjoy.
1. Missionary Position
If you have back pain, and you feel better when you’re standing up straight or bending backward, then it may be best to try the missionary position in bed, whereby the person on their back puts their knees-up and places a lumbar pillow under their lower back for added stability.
The person doing the penetrating can support themselves on their hands so that their back is extended or bent backward more.
Additionally, the person being penetrated can choose to straddle their partner while they lay on their back with a pillow under their lower back.
If you struggle with bending down, arching your back, or sitting for long periods of time as a result of your back pain then you may want to try doggy style in the bedroom.
During this position, one person is on their hands and knees and their partner penetrates them from behind. The position will allow for both parties to keep their backs straight, and the person doing the penetrating can use their legs and hips to thrust.
It would be best for the person on their hands and knees to support themselves with their hands instead of coming down to their elbows as doing so will help to keep their back from bedding downwards in a painful position.
This is a great position for those who feel pain when arching their backs. In this position, the person doing the penetration lies on their side behind their partner and both have their hips and knees flexed.
What do the experts recommend?
Dr. Kenneth Hansraj is the Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine and author of Keys to an Amazing Life: Secrets of the Cervical Spine. When it comes to having sex while protecting the health of your back, Dr. Hansraj suggests the following:
My most recommended sex position is male standing straight up, partner on a table, so that the male’s back is straight (while working)
In regards to those dealing with back pain, Dr. Hansraj advises that the male lays down prone, with the partner on top.
Setting the mood
When it comes to preparing for a night of lovemaking, you can set the mood beforehand and reduce the risk for painful aches throughout the night.
If there’s one way to have a healthy sex life, back pain or no back pain, then it’s important to have open and honest communication channels with your partner.
Be honest about the pain that you’re feeling and how it’s impacting your ability to enjoy sex. Doing so will allow for the two of you to discover new and creative ways to enjoy sex, without actively hurting each other.
At the end of the day, if you can do it, then you can certainly talk about it.
Additional tips include:
- Having your partner give you a massage
- Moving with your hips and knees
- Taking OTC pain meds before sex
- Using a pillow
Want to know more?
Believe it or not, you can still lead an active lifestyle when you have back pain. Exercise is essential to longevity, and it can also help you better manage your back pain. Specialist spine and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj explains how the key to reducing back pain is with incremental exercise.
Bahouq, H., Fadoua, A., Hanan, R., Ihsane, H., & Najia, H. H. (2013). Profile of sexuality in Moroccan chronic low back pain patients. BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 14, 63. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2474-14-63
Hartvigsen, JanBuchbinder, Rachelle et al. (2018). What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention. The Lancet, Volume 391, Issue 10137, 2356 – 2367
Sidorkewicz, N., & McGill, S. M. (2014). Male spine motion during coitus: implications for the low back pain patient. Spine, 39(20), 1633–1639. https://doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000000518
Wu, A., March, L., Zheng, X., Huang, J., Wang, X., Zhao, J., Blyth, F. M., Smith, E., Buchbinder, R., & Hoy, D. (2020). Global low back pain prevalence and years lived with disability from 1990 to 2017: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Annals of translational medicine, 8(6), 299. https://doi.org/10.21037/atm.2020.02.175