I think being in an intimate relationship is important to everyone, for a lot of reasons.

I find having PD makes it hard to be confident to put yourself out there and have the other person judge what PD is, based on pre conceived ideas of what PD means. I am not currently in an intimate relationship and there are plenty of barriers to dating. Society is very judgemental at the best of times, throw in a chronic illness. Also things happen at times that we don’t understand because it’s new to you, so it’s hard to explain that to a new partner who has no history with you. It’s hard to answer whether I feel differently about intimacy than before I was diagnosed. The PD didn’t change how I felt, I also had breast cancer and had one breast removed. I don’t think I would feel any different about intimacy with PD alone. With regards to whether I’m experiencing any physical barriers to a satisfying intimate relationship, I’m not in a intimate relationship at the moment but I was just over 12 months ago and there were no issues.

I am experiencing emotional barriers to a satisfying intimate relationship. Self esteem from a few of my symptoms. If I was in an established relationship I wouldn’t be as concerned about having difficult discussions. Fear of rejection because of my PD is a massive emotional barrier. I have not undertaken any treatments that have impacted positively or negatively on my relationship, for example medications or procedures such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). Factors impacting on my ability to have an intimate relationship include the impact of changes in independence, worry about the future, legal concerns and self-esteem issues. I have experienced a lack of sexual desire, difficulty in reaching an orgasm and fear of incontinence during sex. Strategies that are useful or may be useful include focusing more on casual intimacy like kissing and touching, talking to my partner about my concerns, scheduling sexual activity for when medication is working and going to the toilet before sex. I feel it would be great for the App to provide free access to a Relationship Therapist for online advice specifically in relation to young onset Parkinson’s. Being able to have a private conversation with someone who you can be open with. getting strategies easily from a professional would be so useful, prior to having conversations with a new or established relationship. How to keep it fun when life ain’t funny. I would like a Relationship Therapist to know about young onset Parkinson’s and what it is you want to have in a relationship. How PD can strip you of your self esteem, your thinking may not be “normal” for you.

Ways to have difficult conversations in a new relationship.

I don’t have young children but young adults might be able to provide valuable input to just being the child of someone with Parkinson’s. Not everyone has partners and they may very well be concerned about what that means to them. Dating is tough in 2020 regardless, throw in a chronic illness with may misconceptions will make it even harder.