Free guide to intimacy launched for those with Parkinson’s

'ParkinSex Booklet & Kit' now on offer for patients, partners

Mary Chapman avatar

by Mary Chapman |

Share this article:

Share article via email
Two people in a close embrace are pictured from behind.

Havas Health Plus and the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) have launched a guide to intimacy meant to help Parkinson’s patients and their partners deepen their connections and improve their sexual life.

Sexual dysfunction is common among people with Parkinson’s, and other symptoms such as rigidity, tremor, and fatigue may also contribute to increased distance between partners in a romantic relationship.

Given that, a free educational guide for U.S. residents comes with each ParkinSex Booklet & Kit, and is designed to fortify relationships between partners who may be experiencing physical and emotional distance due to the progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Kit items meant to complement the guide include candles, massage stones, and coupons for adaptive clothing.

While sexual wellness is linked to overall health and wellbeing, it is a topic that requires more attention, according to Havas Health Plus, part of the global health and wellness network Havas Health & You (HH&Y).

“APDA recognized a void within the community discussing these sensitive, yet important, issues, and they acted,” Allison Ceraso, Havas Health Plus’ president and chief creative officer, said in a company press release.

[recommended reading id=23001]

Parkinson’s symptoms can interfere with intimacy, experts say

Ceraso said “co-creating the content for ParkinSex helped make it accessible and inclusive, in both the physical and emotional sense.”

“It’s been an honor collaborating with [the APDA], the many members of their community, and with the support of Dr. Sheila Silver, clinical sexologist,” Ceraso added.

The new kit “allows people to explore the topic in the comfort of their own home, on their own time, and get some practical ideas that will hopefully increase their quality of life,” said Rebecca Gilbert, MD, PhD, APDA’s chief scientific officer.

The challenges of Parkinson’s can often result in intimacy and connection getting left behind.

To heighten awareness on the potential benefits of sexual intimacy in Parkinson’s, HH&Y sponsored a pilot distribution of the kits to the Parkinson’s community, which the company said was well received. There now is a waitlist for the kits, which are mailed in discreet packaging.

“Discussing sexual health with patients often takes a back seat when dealing with other medical concerns that can accompany Parkinson’s disease. That does not mean that sexual health isn’t vital to a person’s wellbeing,” Gilbert said, adding, “When prompted, regardless of reluctance, many people with [Parkinson’s] admit that they miss the intimate connection they used to have with their partner or explain how their [disease] has put a damper on their sex life.”

Parkinson’s can hamper patients’ ability to be intimate physically as well as psychologically and relationally. Many patients experience fatigue, low libido, poor sexual coordination, premature or delayed ejaculation, vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction, and problems reaching orgasm.

Some patients also experience depression, which can result in decreased libido.

“We work tirelessly to help people impacted by Parkinson’s disease live life to the fullest and we know that intimacy can play a significant role in quality of life,” said Leslie A. Chambers, APDA’s president and CEO.

“Yet, the challenges of Parkinson’s can often result in intimacy and connection getting left behind. This is why we created The ParkinSex Booklet & Kit, to help people with PD [Parkinson’s disease] rekindle that special connection and find ways to receive intimacy in new ways,” Chambers added.