Psoriasis and intimacy

When you're intimate with another person you want to look your best and feel confident. But what if you have the chronic skin condition psoriasis?

Red, scaly and flaky skin can make you feel anxious and embarrassed about the appearance of your skin, rather than sexy. If you have psoriasis and you're dating, you might feel awkward about sharing that you have psoriasis or worry about how the person will respond. A new partner might be unfamiliar with your condition and fear that it's contagious or feel unsure about how to touch you without irritating your skin.

Painful or itchy psoriasis patches on your genitals or other parts of your body can also be distracting during intimacy or cause you to feel so self-conscious that you avoid it altogether.

But many people with psoriasis enjoy healthy emotional and physical relationships with their partners. Here are some suggestions to help you cope:

  • Talk to your doctor. If you're uncomfortable during intimacy because of your psoriasis, talk to your doctor. Take your medications as prescribed. Avoid using very concentrated coal tar on your genitals, as it can cause irritation.
  • Love yourself first. If you're having trouble accepting that you have a chronic condition, you can't expect your partner to do so. Focus on becoming comfortable in your own skin. Your confidence will be contagious.
  • Decide when and how to talk about it with your partner. Consider what will make you feel most comfortable. Some people choose to discuss their psoriasis with a partner right away. Others wait until they see how the relationship progresses.
  • Practice and prepare what you'll say. When you start a conversation about psoriasis with your partner, be prepared to educate him or her and handle his or her response. Your partner might have questions or make incorrect assumptions about your condition. Put yourself in your partner's shoes and think about what you would want to know.
  • Discuss what it means for your relationship. Be open about how psoriasis affects your life. For example, explain that if you're having a flare, you might not be interested in sex. But you can find other ways to be intimate during these times so that you and your partner still feel connected.

Psoriasis might pose challenges, but don't let it get in the way of intimacy with your partner. Understand how to manage your symptoms and openly communicate with your partner. This can improve your self-confidence — and your relationship.

Jan. 03, 2019 See more In-depth

See also

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  8. Ease stress to reduce your psoriasis flares
  9. Exercising with arthritis
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  11. Gluten sensitivity and psoriasis: What's the connection?
  12. How to heal cracked heels
  13. How to heal cracked skin at thumb tip
  14. Living better with psoriasis
  15. Psoriasis-related health risks
  16. Mayo Clinic Minute: Fingernails are clues to your health
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  26. Psoriasis and your self-esteem
  27. Psoriasis diet: Can changing your diet treat psoriasis?
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  29. Psoriasis: Get the most out of your treatment
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  32. Psoriasis treatment options
  33. Psoriasis: What if I get psoriatic arthritis, too?
  34. Psoriasis: What to share with your doctor
  35. Relaxation techniques
  36. Scalp psoriasis vs. seborrheic dermatitis
  37. Self-esteem check
  38. Skin biopsy
  39. Skin care tips
  40. Skip flavored lip balm
  41. How to trim thickened toenails
  42. Slide show: 5 ways to thrive with psoriasis through the holidays
  43. Slide show: Caring for your skin when you have psoriasis
  44. Hand exercises for people with arthritis
  45. Joint protection
  46. Types of psoriasis
  47. Common skin rashes
  48. Stress management
  49. Time your lotions right
  50. Ward off dry skin
  51. Water exercise
  52. Alternative psoriasis treatments
  53. What are the risks of vaccinations for people living with psoriasis?
  54. What's the best way to manage scalp psoriasis?
  55. White patch on skin: A cause for concern?
  56. Yucca: Can it relieve arthritis pain?