Intimacy Does Not Have to End when Dialysis Begins


Many couples with a partner on dialysis wonder if intimacy is gone forever. This is an important question to ponder because no matter what form of dialysis you’re taking, your body has had to undergo a significant change. You may feel unattractive, and if you and your significant other don’t address the 800-pound gorilla in the "bedroom", both parties may begin to jump to conclusions about what the other is thinking. You should communicate openly and honestly to obtain the high level of trust required to rekindle your intimacy.

If you are concerned about physical exertion resulting from increased intimacy recommends that you first discuss this issue with your Nephrologist or Social Worker. Intimacy, however, doesn’t have to mean sexual intercourse because a simple touch can at times mean so much. Physical touch is an affirmation that speaks volumes when words are hard to find.

There are some physical impediments to intimacy that unfortunately just come with the territory for dialysis patients. For example, men with kidney failure frequently have problems with lack of desire for sex, erectile dysfunction or reduced levels of testosterone.

Talk with your partner about how dialysis makes you feel about your body and how you think it affects him or her. Don’t assume that if your partner doesn’t approach you, it’s because he or she no longer finds you attractive. They may not know if your doctor has told you that having sex is okay. They may be afraid of hurting you or damaging your access or catheter. Talking things through can help you and your partner discover new ways to be intimate with each other.

Prior to you or anyone touching your catheter or exit-site, it is important to wash hands. Intimacy doesn’t have to stop when dialysis starts. It is important to remember that relationships are more than just sex, and intimacy can take on many forms. Holding hands, taking quiet walks, remembering and sharing special moments can help both you and your partner focus on what is really important in your relationship and your lives.


"Dialysis and Sexuality - Fresenius Medical Care." Dialysis and Sexuality - Fresenius Medical Care.

"Keep Your Relationship Alive." Dialysis Relationships


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