Asthma, Sex, and Relationships

Questions about asthma, relationships and sexual well-being are very common and important to ask! Don’t be afraid to ask your health care provider about how your asthma might affect your interpersonal relationships or sexual activities.  You can always contact our free Asthma & Allergy HelpLine to speak with a Certified Respiratory Educator, too.

We’ve assembled a few tips that reflect common questions we receive through our HelpLine.

Should I tell my new partner I have asthma?

Communication really is key when it comes to managing asthma and relationships. Let your partner know that you have asthma as soon as you feel comfortable doing so, but be frank. It’s important they understand your triggers and what to do in case your asthma symptoms become uncontrolled and you have an asthma attack. Show your partner how you use your medications and explain why you use them. In the event of an asthma attack, your partner can help you get the assistance you need.

I’m worried I’ll have an asthma attack in bed! How can I prevent this?

Keep your asthma in good control. Like with any activity, keep your asthma in good control so that strong emotions and physical activity don’t affect your symptoms. That means taking your daily controller medication as prescribed, and using your reliever medication when needed. (Think you might be using your reliever too much? Take our quiz.) Just like exercise, you don’t have to avoid sexual activities because you have asthma, but sexual activity can be an asthma trigger. Take your reliever medication 10-15 minutes prior to any physical activity.

I’m worried that my partner will think that I’m a burden on them.

If you have any worries or concerns about your asthma affecting your relationship, share them with your partner. Stress is an asthma trigger, too, so it’s just as important to take care of your mental health. All illness is accompanied by anxiety, so why not share the load together, rather than separately?

I’m ready to get physical! What tips do you have for me?

Make the most of your time between the sheets with five quick tips:

  1. Be mindful of any triggers that might affect your symptoms. Scented products like perfume, cologne, incense, and candles can be an asthma trigger, so let your partner know if you’re sensitive.
  2. Communication is key! Talk to your partner and let them know that you may need to take breaks or change positions if you feel asthma symptoms are affecting you during sexual activity. Do not rush!
  3. Heightened emotions can be an asthma trigger. Continuously check in with your partner to ensure you both feel comfortable.
  4. Try sexual positions that don’t put as much pressure on your chest and allow you to remain upright.
  5. If you’re bothered by mucous, practice your control cough breathing before beginning sexual activities.