Living with Peyronie’s disease often includes pain and changes to sexual function that can affect personal intimacy, relationships, and mental health.
Peyronie’s disease is when plaques (scar tissue) form under the skin of the penis and cause it to bend.
Understanding the ways Peyronie’s disease can affect your sex life can help you know what to expect from the disease, along with how treatment options can help.
Yes, sex is possible with Peyronie’s disease.
Depending on the extent of the scarring, inflammation, and your pain levels, you may choose to explore sex acts outside of intercourse for sexual satisfaction.
In some cases, scarring and trauma can affect your ability to get or keep an erection and cause some discomfort to your partner during penetrative intercourse. Some treatments may help reduce scar tissue and may improve satisfaction for you and your partner.
Here are seven things to know about Peyronie’s disease and sex.
Erectile dysfunction is more common among people with Peyronie’s disease. A 2020 study on 656 males receiving care at a urology clinic in Brazil found that nearly 60% of people with Peyronie’s disease had erectile dysfunction, compared with 46% of those without the condition.
There are a few possible reasons for the connection between Peyronie’s disease and erectile dysfunction. These include
- Scarring: For some, the scarring can make it difficult to get an erection.
- Trauma and inflammation: Erections can also be challenging if the nerves or blood vessels of the penis have been damaged by inflammation or trauma to the penis, which is associated with Peyronie’s disease.
- Mental health issues: Many people living with Peyronie’s disease experience anxiety and depression because of the condition. These feelings can also lead to challenges with sexual function, so the symptoms often compound each other.
- Pain: Pain, especially during the active phase of the disease, can contribute to erectile dysfunction for some people.
Peyronie’s disease often causes pain during erections and can also make sex uncomfortable for the partners of people with Peyronie’s disease.
A 2020 study found that nearly half of the female sexual partners of males with the condition experienced at least moderate pain or discomfort during vaginal intercourse.
In some cases, partners couldn’t engage in certain sexual activities they enjoyed before the onset of Peyronie’s.
That said, the appearance of your penis might not be as much of an issue to your partner. The research found that nearly 60% of males with Peyronie’s disease were very or extremely bothered by how their erect penis looks, while just 20% of female sexual partners felt the same way.
More research is still needed on the extent to which non-female partners of people with Peyronie’s disease experience discomfort during sex.
While it can be difficult to talk about Peyronie’s disease, communication can help you maintain intimacy with your partner and find new ways to be sexual.
Some ways to make the conversation easier, according to the Association of Peyronie’s Disease Advocates (APDA), include:
- Discuss the condition and its effects over several conversations. Don’t feel like you have to cover everything in one sitting.
- Your feelings and symptoms can change over time, so you may need to revisit topics in future conversations. Try to be honest about what you’re going through.
- Make sure the conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. As much as you share your concerns, listen to your partner express how your condition is affecting them as well.
The APDA also encourages people with Peyronie’s disease to involve their partners in exploring treatment options and attending doctor’s appointments.
If Peyronie’s disease is making it challenging to have sex the way you’re used to, it might be time to explore new techniques.
Partners can use different positions or explore other forms of intimacy and pleasure besides intercourse to achieve satisfaction.
Speaking with a sex therapist or counselor can help both people in the relationship share their sexual needs and desires and work through challenges in the relationship.
Treatments for Peyronie’s disease, which range from injections to surgery and penile implants, usually have the goal of reducing curvature and improving sexual function.
However, not all people with the condition need medical treatments. If pain is your main symptom, OTC pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), may be all you need to have a more comfortable erection.
There are several surgical and nonsurgical treatments for Peyronie’s disease. While they’re typically focused on reversing curvature and breaking up plaques, some treatments have the added benefit of boosting satisfaction for partners of people with the condition.
Female partner sexual satisfaction also climbed by 34-88% when males were treated with penile plication, 90-100% after they underwent plaque incision or partial excision with grafting, and 40-75% after penile prosthesis implantation (a treatment typically reserved for people with severe Peyronie’s disease and erectile dysfunction).
It’s important to note that available research only surveyed females who were intimate with males with Peyronie’s disease, so further study is needed to determine how the condition and treatments can affect non-female partners.
The psychological impacts of Peyronie’s disease can affect your emotional well-being and your ability to be intimate.
According to APDA, the condition can change the way a person sees themself and hurt their self-confidence.
People with Peyronie’s disease may avoid intimacy, lose interest in sex, and withdraw emotionally. This can cause a range of psychological challenges for both people in the relationship.
Overcoming emotional and social isolation can help reduce the condition’s impact on your sex life and overall well-being. Consider talking with others living with the condition or joining a support group.
A mental health professional, such as a psychologist or a therapist, can also give you a safe space to work through concerns and find ways to cope.
Does Peyronie’s disease hurt during sex?
Depending on the extent of inflammation and scarring, you may experience pain or discomfort during sex or while having an erection. Some people may find relief with OTC pain relievers, while others may need additional treatment.
Can Peyronie’s disease affect your partner?
The scarring from Peyronie’s disease may cause discomfort for your partner during intercourse. However, new positions or forms of intimacy may cause less discomfort. Some treatment options may also help increase your partner’s satisfaction during intercourse.
How can I help my partner with Peyronie’s disease?
You may be able to support a partner with Peyronie’s disease by maintaining honest communication, learning more about the condition, and attending their medical appointments if they would like you to.
Can you spread Peyronie’s disease?
Peyronie’s disease is not contagious and cannot spread from person to person.
Peyronie’s disease may impact a person’s sex life due to the physical symptoms and the emotional impacts of the condition.
The condition may also impact a partner’s comfort and satisfaction during sex.
You may be able to reduce the effects of Peyronie’s disease on intimacy by exploring treatment options, having open and honest conversations, and seeing a sex therapist.
You may also consider joining a support group to connect with others with the condition.