Intimacy needs and chronic illness: strategies for sexual counseling and self-management

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Steinke, Elaine E.

Journal of gerontological nursing. 2005 May; 31(5): 40-50.


Individuals experiencing a chronic illness have many needs and concerns. One area frequently overlooked is that of intimacy. Those experiencing cardiovascular illnesses have concerns about the strain of sexual activity on their heart. Individuals with lung diseases may perceive that sexual activity is no longer possible because of breathing difficulties. Accurate information and strategies for self-management are needed to address the intimacy needs and concerns of these individuals. The purpose of this article is to identify intimacy needs and strategies for sexual counseling for individuals with cardiovascular illnesses such as myocardial infarction, heart failure, implantable defibrillators, hypertension, and for chronic lung problems.

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