Enjoying Sex, One of Life’s Not-so-Simple Pleasures

Brittany Foster avatar

by Brittany Foster |

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“There were nights of endless pleasure. It was more than any laws allow.”

Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” is a classic. As I sang along, I couldn’t help but wonder, what kind of sex is Celine Dion having, and where can I sign up? One of life’s greatest pleasures is pleasure itself, but why can this sometimes feel impossible to achieve?

Living with a rare disease can feel like a hindrance to achieving an orgasm. Emotional dysregulation, physical pain, and loss of libido frustratingly complicate that toe-curling and back-arching feeling of whole-body bliss.

Although I am still wondering what the secret is to having those “nights of endless pleasure,” I have learned more about myself and my body in the last few years, which has helped strengthen my ability to have an orgasm. I’ve learned the importance of listening to my body, respecting and trusting my physical cues, and getting in touch with myself.

Some days, it is easier for me to ignore my body. Listening to it would mean that I have to acknowledge the hurt and pain. There was a long period of my life when I chose not to listen to my body. I was afraid of admitting when things felt too painful. I distanced myself from my body, and that strategy seemed to work. Ignorance was bliss until it wasn’t.

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Numbing myself physically and emotionally just created a larger disconnect between my body and mind. This distance doesn’t help when it comes to physical pleasure and sex. Eventually, I started paying attention to how my body felt in the moment. Focusing on the most sensitive areas helped me to be present and created less distance between my body and mind.

Not only is listening to my body helpful when it comes to achieving powerful orgasms, but trust and respect are equally important. Trusting and respecting myself are half the battle. With rare disease and chronic illness, it is not uncommon to feel upset at my body for being so untrustworthy. My body is inconsistent, deceiving, and unpredictable.

If these were qualities of a partner, it would feel toxic. Instead of focusing on these inconsistencies, I’ve found it helpful to practice gratitude for the things my body can do every day, even if it’s a small victory. When it comes to pleasure, it’s necessary for me to have self-confidence and appreciation for what my body is capable of.

Mind-blowing orgasms can’t happen without communication. For me to communicate what my needs are, I first have to understand them myself. Getting in touch with myself and my physical desires has made a difference in the way I talk about my needs with a partner. It has given me confidence to speak up, which is something I have always struggled with.

Self-exploration is vital when it comes to pleasure. I have experimented with different lubrication, pressure, speeds, temperatures, textures, vibrations, and more. What feels right in one moment might not be suitable for another. Making time for myself and learning about my body are forms of self-care that shouldn’t be so shameful to talk about.

I may not be at the level of “nights of endless pleasure” yet, but I have had hours of it broken up into multiple rounds. Sexual pleasure does not always come easily, especially for those living with rare and chronic illness. I have had to shorten the disconnect between my body and mind, learn to trust that my body was capable of more, and had to explore what felt right.

Even though I am living with a rare disease, I still deserve to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures: pleasure itself.

Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


Jennifer avatar


Well written, Britt! The impact of chronic conditions on intimacy, relationships, and sex is rarely spoken about. I believe there is an unhealthy expectation for Hollywood love-making, which is leading to disappointment and self-esteem challenges for all parties. You're right that communication is the key, although until I read your article I had assumed that these conversations were just with my partner and not with myself. I'll definitely put more thought to how I check-in with myself.


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