Keeping the Spark Alive Through MS

A couple maintains their physical connection while battling Multiple Sclerosis.

Posted Nov 06, 2018

The first time I felt that spark of electricity was during a spin-the-bottle endeavor in 7th grade. It was my turn, and the bottle landed—I had my first kiss. It felt a little like a static electricity shock from shag carpet mixed with a slight melting of the lips. I barely knew my kissing companion, let alone liked her in any special way, but nevertheless, I felt a spark. 

Ten years later, I was leaning on a car with my platonic best friend of three years when our lips met for the first time, that spark I had first felt years before became a torrent of massive electric shock that lasted for what seemed like an hour. The potential energy that had been building for years was finally released. It was such an intense first kiss that we both had scraped faces the next morning.

We had waited three years for that kiss, as we suddenly transitioned from being best friends to lovers. It was worth the wait, and the ground-moving shocks never left us for 33 years until her peaceful passing.

We did, however, have a major obstacle—Cindy developed Multiple Sclerosis and was paralyzed from the neck down for the last 19 years of her life. Even so, we never lost the electricity, and sex never wavered.

Being pitied by people staring at her in a wheelchair bothered us. We did our best to normalize our social lives. When invited by friends, we’d make sure to arrive early and stash her wheelchair. I would carry her into a seat at a booth. While we couldn’t dance, Cindy suggested that we just make out.

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We enjoyed our sexual connection for years and we were creative by necessity. Cindy could not move her legs, but there was no problem in me moving her legs for her. We used to laugh and call it our Gumby foreplay. We never lost that physical spark, and it helped us through the toughest times. In our visits to couples therapists, we always passed one of the key tests. When the counselor invariably asked about our sex life, we would always look at each other and laugh, answering favorably—nearly ending most of those sessions. According to these professionals, a true litmus test for a relationship is the status of your intimacy.

As Cindy’s health declined, she became more and more brittle, so our physicality became increasingly gentle and measured. We never lost our sense of humor, and I would flirt and play with her during the most mundane or even formal times. Shower time became an opportunity to connect, instead of centering on the often depressing situation we were descending into. 

A few weeks before her passing, we were in the reclining chair, and we both fell over backward. I made a great save and caught her head, bracing it before we hit the ground (without severing my manhood). We kept the humor and the spark—it was a key survival tool for getting through the challenges. We knew we had something special on many levels, and the physical part was like the icing on the cake that served as the never-ending grounding for our relationship.

The laughs and sensations kept on coming until it was only me.