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Is My Asexuality Me or My RA?

Disclaimer: Hi, I’m Monica and you’re going to learn about my sex life! Lots of TMI ahead!

I’m just going to say it: I don’t like sex.

I have it because it’s a pretty good anti-inflammatory but, if I never had sex again, I wouldn’t be upset. Here’s the thing, though: I don’t know if I don’t like it because I don’t like it or if it’s because of my rheumatoid arthritis!

Physical intimacy and asexuality

I am not a touchy-feely person to begin with. I never have been. If you want to know if I’m lying just look at my pets; they don’t like to be touched, either. I don’t mind hugs, handshakes, etc but I would prefer no contact. My personal space bubble is 5 feet in diameter and airtight. The big thing about sex is I kind of have to touch another person and them me. I can’t avoid it. Do you see the problem?

Leaning towards being asexual

I might be asexual. I lean towards asexuality because I don’t believe I have to be physical to be affectionate (granted, I’m not affectionate by nature but that’s a whole different can of worms).

I identify as asexual.

That sounds pretty open and shut, right? I wish.

Asexuality in the context of rheumatoid arthritis

I didn’t become sexually active until well into my diagnosis, so I couldn’t tell you whether I’ve always not enjoyed sex. Coitus is hard if you have RA. It can be painful, obviously. It can be awkward if I am dealing with stiffness.

And sometimes I flare because those anti-inflammatory benefits don’t kick in immediately for me. Why would I want to do something that causes me more discomfort?? Did I condition myself long before I started, not to enjoy it?

Lowered sex drive due to RA medications

Let’s go a little deeper (no pun intended). I was already on steroids, methotrexate, and pain medication for years before I became sexually active. These medications could cause lower sex drive which means I don’t want to have sex. (Funny story: I only found this out because my father sent me articles on the subject. My father and I have a very open relationship but we never talk about sex. I’m still not adult enough for THOSE conversations!). Did I not want to have sex because I just didn’t feel like it?

Because of these considerations, am I truly asexual?

The answer to all three questions is ‘I just don’t know.’ My best friends don’t find it at all surprising that I don’t like having sex. I wouldn’t even be surprised if I identify that way because of my personality and how I feel about physical intimacy. But, these questions always haunt me because I can’t really know, can I?

Do I have to label myself as asexual?

Does it matter how I identify? Do I have to have a label? If I have sex, okay. If I don’t, who cares. When it comes down to it, I have to do what’s best for my body, my mind and my RA. Will sex help me or hinder me? I should ask that question instead, right?

So now that we’re so well acquainted, I invite you to share your thoughts on my sex life! Do you think I’m actually asexual or is it a product of my condition? What about you? Has your idea of sexuality/sex changed with your diagnosis? Let me know in the comments!


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Daniel Malito moderator
    1 month ago

    @mysengupta Having your dad send you articles about sex is just about as awkward as having your mom try to talk to you about it as an adult, so I’m right there with you. It’s the same with guys – pain meds up, libido down. I have to make sure not to take pain meds if I’m going on dates, which means pain and stiffness for something that’s basically the limber Olympics. I think the RA probably contributes to the asexual nature, but you could also just be that way, disease or no. God knows i have had more than my share of embarrassing moments in bed because of RA, but then again, that might be true of healthy people as well. It’s hard for guys to pull friends aside and be like, “hey dude, so tell me about your epic fails in the sex department.” Sooooo much harder than women, I think. 🙂 Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    1 day ago

    It’s like darned if you and darned if you don’t!

    I really wonder if my preferences are more due to fear from the RA, as well. Pregnancy while on these meds is a NO. And, then, my doctor freaked me out even further and said that while it’s possible STIs may be worse because of my suppressed immunity; he said it’s probable that the steroids and pain meds could actually hide clinical STI symptoms.


    Sex is scary. It seems that there is more to worry about than to enjoy…But I think I’m one of the few that think the risk outweighs the reward, lol!

    You know, I don’t know that women talk more about sex. I think we are more open about it but the topic doesn’t dominate all our conversations!

    Thanks Daniel!! @danielpmalito

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