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Author Topic: Being Intimate After an Illness or Body Change  (Read 2457 times)

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Offline cocoboogie

  • Member
  • Posts: 39
Being Intimate After an Illness or Body Change
« on: September 21, 2008, 03:57:41 AM »
Hello everyone,

Just an update, my numbers are improving and I am slowly gaining my confidence back.  I have met old friends and co-workers in public. So far so good.  Most tell me how good I look. 

One issue I am facing is the fact I am not comfortable with my nude body.  I cover the discolorations on my skin with clothes.  I wear long sleave shirts and never wear shorts.  My arms and legs are smaller than before my OI and I am developing a belly (possibly from meds). 

I suffered from KS last year and lost over 60lbs. I have gained most of the weight back just not in the right places.   On the scale I weigh about the same but my arms, legs and butt are smaller.  Most of the weight has gone to my stomach and midsection.

An ex contacted me, recently.  He is very attractive and has an athletic/muscular build. The last time he saw me naked was over 3 years ago. I was never muscular but always had a solid build (32waist, toned thighs/legs, round ass and smooth skin) I have played phone tag with him.  I am not comfortable meeting him because I know he will recognize the change in my body and skin. He doesnt know of my status nor that I was sick and bedridden most of last year.

I was poz when we were dating but I never disclosed.  We always practiced safe sex. He's a top and I am a bttm.  I would like to see him again but I am embarrased about getting naked in front of him. I know he would notice the change in my build and obviously the discolorations on my skin.  I could be overreacting, as of yet, he hasnt even mentioned sex.  He use to like to hug, caress and lay on top of me when we were alone (which usually led to sex).

Unsure how many times I could get away with dressing business casual and not letting him touch or undress me.

Has anyone dealt with being intimate for the first time after an illness or body change?  Should I wait until my skin clears and hope I can gain my old body back?  Any advice would be helpful. Especially from those who have dealt with KS.  Thanks.
Date    CD4  VL
11/07  20     56,000 started chemo for KS
4/08    12     60,000 started Kaletra and Truvada
5/08    14     820
6/08    19     Undetectable stopped chemo
7/08   149    Undetectable  
8/09   247    undetectable
6/10   498    undetectable
1/11   408    undetectable
4/11   402    undetectable  
5/11   511    undetectable
11/11  599   undetectable
7/12    439   undetectable
3/13     479 undectectable
9/13 645  undectectable

Offline Iggy

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  • Posts: 2,434
Re: Being Intimate After an Illness or Body Change
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2008, 09:30:53 AM »
Hey coco,

I'm not going to pretend I can commiserate on body image concerns following KS and chemotherapy (that I see mentioned in your sigline) as I can only appreciate the very real changes your body has experienced.

The closest I have in experience (which I don't put on the same scale as yours) was when I had my shingles outbreak, which was more virulent then most.  My entire right arm from shoulder to finger tips was covered as well as my left hand, parts of my back, torso, legs and head/face.  Since healing I still had bright red blotches all over my right arm and back (9 months later) and some areas of scar tissue on the right arm and my back which look a little like quarter size welts.

It took me a long time to feel comfortable wearing short sleeves in public as I was certain people were staring. As for sex, I understand the feeling of of worry as even with a loving partner, I felt uncomfortable and not sexually appealing for a while. The thing though (for me) was to just realize that frankly, I will never be that unblemished perfect skin 20-something year old I once was (many many many years ago) and the reality of getting older is that our bodies change - sometimes through illness and definitely through natural loss of youthful vigor (e.g. loss of muscle tone, hair color, hair, growing of moles, wrinkles etc)  and I guess I figured I needed to buck up and get used to it now or else I was never going to make it through the aging process.

OK, all that said I want to change tracks a little and suggest that I think part of the problem in being naked for you with your ex isn't really physical body issue so much as needing to discuss your poz status with him.  I think the KS and the changes it has affected in your body means you no longer have the ability (at least mentally going by your post) to not tell him and there is going to be the obvious question of when did you convert.

My thought is perhaps  tackling the  sexual intimacy question should take a second place to a greater intimacy goal of disclosing to him right now.  I think you two have a lot to talk about and it right now.

Offline Bucko

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  • Posts: 1,947
  • You need a shine, missy!
    • The Spin Cycle
Re: Being Intimate After an Illness or Body Change
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2008, 11:58:10 AM »

Perceived self image was a major concern of mine following a period of confinement to bed in 2002, during which time I was hospitalized twice, and the calamitous break-up of a nine-year relationship two years later. I went from looking great to looking very changed. When I visited my sister early in 2005 after an extended time apart, her shock was plainly evident. In response to my direct question as to how bad I really did look, she replied "Not bad, really, just totally different."

I made a kind of inventory of what I had left and what might be done to maximize improvement where possible. It was difficult to be objective, but I did my best to see myself from the perspective of a stranger who didn't know what I used to look like. Where I saw the effects of lipoatrophy in my arms and legs (most especially around the joints), others saw heightened muscular definition and vascularity. What I saw as a face hollowed out by weight loss, chronic pain and, again, lipo, others saw chiseled features and a rugged masculinity.

I started dating someone who worked out 5-6 times a week and who looked splendid. He put me on a routine of high-protein meals and a strenuous gym regimen, and within 2-3 months I was happy enough with my appearance to truly believe that I looked great, not just for my new circumstances, but probably the best I'd ever looked.

So I guess part of it involves acceptance of the boundaries of the new look, and part of it involves maxing out whatever potential you have.
Blessed with brains, talent and gorgeous tits.

The revolutionary smart set reads The Spin Cycle at least once every day.

Blathering on AIDSmeds since 2005, provocative from birth

Offline Miss Philicia

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  • Posts: 24,793
  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Being Intimate After an Illness or Body Change
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2008, 02:26:08 PM »
I've had a lot of body changes:  2 bouts of wasting and a decade of lipo.  Personally, I'd only take my clothes off in front of a past lover that pre-dated these body changes if I'd discussed my situation before hand, as I would not otherwise feel comfortable.  However, because that situation would make me uncomfortable I've simply constructed my life so that I don't encounter that situation.  Actually come to think of it there's only one past boyfriend I'd disrobe for, but he's aware of these body changes as they happened around the time we broke up.  The last time we saw each other though we didn't have sex, but we did have a knock out fight :)

Probably not what you wanted to hear, but whatever.  You asked for my opinion.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline BT65

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  • Posts: 10,764
Re: Being Intimate After an Illness or Body Change
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2008, 09:42:04 PM »
When I went through a bad wasting in the early 90's, I was hardly the receptive one regarding sex with my then girlfriend.  I performed oral etc. on her, but I didn't want her seeing my bones (and that's pretty much what I was, 80 lbs at 5'10").  I did disrobe in front of her, of course.  We were very close, so I trusted her not to "freak."  And she didn't.  We lived together though; it's not like it was a random thing. 

Today I have lipo in my gut and get a bit gun shy when thinking about having sex with anyone today.  I'm getting less vain though, so maybe that'd give me an escape.
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Offline Patrick

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  • Posts: 86
  • Where the determination is, the way can be found.
Re: Being Intimate After an Illness or Body Change
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2008, 11:02:00 PM »

I cannot imagine what you have gone through, but I am glad you are getting better and that your cd4 is rising nicely.

As far as the body changes go, maybe ask your doctor about hormone replacement therapy.  I know lots of guys have gone on it, and it has helped them immensely with wasing issues, and even lipo in certain cases (helps to lean out the belly).  Perhaps that, coupled with a gym regimin and high protein diet, over time, would help.  Its worth a try most certainly.

While I know some of the changes that have happened may not be completely reversible, I think that you could reverse some of it with a good diet, gym program, and some hormone replacement therapy (as I cannot imagine your testosterone levels being anywhere near normal after chemo and all the rest).

Good luck.
Seroconversion - late October 07
11/14/07 - CD4 190   VL >750,000
11/14/07 - Started Truvada & Kaletra
12/5/07 - CD4 851     VL 710
2/19/08 - CD4 604     VL Undetectable
5/8/08 -   CD4 829     VL Undetectable
8/12/08 - CD4 915     VL 80 (blip)
11/11/08 - CD4 967    VL Undetectable

Offline GSOgymrat

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,119
  • HIV+ since 1993. Relentlessly gay.
Re: Being Intimate After an Illness or Body Change
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2008, 11:25:30 PM »
Coco, just do what I do and have sex like a Evangelical: lights out, clothes on, a hole in the sheet and, no, you can't touch me. ;)

Seriously though, I have not had KS but I know what it is like not to like your body. What has worked for me is to do the best with what you have: exercise, eat right, buy some flattering clothes, get plenty of sleep, buy some more flattering clothes, get your hair done. Remind yourself that we are all our worst critics-- you have already said people have commented on how good you look. If you don't want to have sex until your skin clears then wait. When you do decide to have sex make sure it is with someone who cares about you and not just your body.

Also congrats on your improved numbers and health. That is what is truly important.


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