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5 Ways to Feel Sexy Even if You’re Sick #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 in ChronicBabe Basics, coping, featured, relationships, self care, sexuality | 2 comments

If you have chronic pain or illness, a decent part of your day is taken up with self-care and managing symptoms. Sometimes, you can get lost in that process, and forget that you’re also a sensual being. Today’s video includes five things I do all the time to maintain my sexy ChronicBabe side… and I’ll be curious to hear what works for you, too!     *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How do you nurture your sexy side? Tell me all about it in the comments below. Want more #AWAPwednesday? Check out our #AWAPwednesday video playlist, which has more than 100 videos packed with practical advice, lots of humor, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! (Loose) Transcript: Oh, hey there. Hello. (Blows a kiss) Come sit down and let’s have a little chat, shall we, sugar?   Hi! I’m Jenni Grover Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my personal favorite tips and techniques to help you craft an incredible life beyond illness. Yes! I know you can. Subscribe to the ChronicBabe YouTube channel today to make sure you never miss another video, OK?   I’m sure you could tell from the intro that today, we’re talking about how to feel sexy even if you’re a sick chick. This is a challenge for me, and for many of us. If you have chronic pain or illness, a decent part of your day is taken up with self-care and managing symptoms. Sometimes, you can get lost in that process, and forget that you’re also a sensual being. For me, sexy is all about sensuality. Because I have fibromyalgia, my senses are always heightened to the max – that’s a huge part of the illness – so I often feel like I’m on overload, but mostly for BAD sensations. Embracing sensuality is about turning on your senses to all the GOOD sensations out there. It’ like pointing your little radar dish toward deliciousness. Here are a few ways I embrace sensuality in my day-to-day: When I wake up in the morning, I sometimes stretch and roll around in the bed like a cat. I try to embrace the languid nature of the wake-up time, enjoying that feeling of being in between asleep and awake. It’s lovely. I always put on some essential oils. You can buy these online from a number of retailers, and some grocery stores like Whole Foods carry them. You can go exotic, or you can go floral, or...

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It’s OK to be Sad During the Holidays (AWAP Wednesday)

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015 in coping, depression, featured, friends and family, holidays, sexuality | 8 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday video is a quickie, and an importantie: I want to make sure you know it’s OK to be sad during the holidays. (Bonus: today’s video is illustrated with tons of my favorite Christmas and wintertime photos, because it’s a super-bad hair day here at ChronicBabe HQ.) It’s the most wonderful (and sad) time of the year In large swaths of the world, people get sad during this time of year because it’s winter. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s gloomy. There are fewer hours of sunlight, and many of us experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I mean, it’s all in the name, right? Many of us also experience some sadness around the holidays for emotional reasons: We feel a sense of loss because we’re not as healthy as we once were. We feel stressed because we’re spending more time with family and friends who may love us but don’t really understand us, and they sometimes put their foot in their mouth. We do what we can to cope, but our feelings are more easily hurt. And many of us experience very real stress from financial difficulty; we can’t buy all the presents we want to, we may be stretching ourselves really thin to make sure our kids get their wishes granted—and societal pressures keep us striving, sometimes past our limits. This is incredibly stressful. Finally, in the U.S., it’s the final few days of open enrollment for health insurance, and if you’re like me, the process of finding a new provider for 2016 has been grueling. My coverage is going to be significantly more expensive next year, so I’m entering the winter holiday season (and shopping season) knowing I’ll need to tighten my belt a little more starting in January. Woo hoo! It’s a party. Ugh. So I’m feeling sad. Some days, really really sad. I have to work to get out of bed and be productive, and I’m asking my friends and family for lots of extra help and support this time of year. I lean on a wide variety of people (including my healthcare professionals) for support because I know that they, too, are already spread thin. Maybe you’re feeling sad, too. And I want you to know that it’s OK. I’ve been fighting it. I’ve been feeling like a jerk for feeling sad. I mean, whoa—way to pile on, Jenni! But a very smart, trusted person in my life reminded me the other day that it’s OK to be sad. It’s not a sign of being less-than, and it’s not weakness. It’s a feeling about some very real shit going down in my life. And it will pass. And I know some tried-and-true things that can make my...

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AWAP Wednesday: How to Talk About Sex and Chronic Illness

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in caregivers, ChronicBabe Basics, fears, featured, pain, practicalities, relationships, sexuality | 6 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday video comes from a question I received from a fellow ChronicBabe: How do I talk with my partner and ask him to initiate the lovin’ and everything in between, when his attitude is “don’t touch the fragile flower lest it hurt her”? I’m so tired of it feeling so one-sided, it makes me feel like he’s not into me. Watch today’s video, in which I get… well… pretty specific with my recommendations: *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How have you handle the sex conversation(s) in your relationships as a ChronicBabe? What’s worked? What hasn’t? I want to know! Join the conversation in the comments below, and share your experience. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has more than six hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! (Rough) Transcript: Great question! I’ve experienced this before, and I likely will again, as I suspect many of you have. When we have a partner who sees us in pain, suffering, it can be hard for them to relax and initiate—and participate in, with gusto—sexual activity. It’s common for our partners to be concerned that they may hurt us. This requires, in my experience, a gentle conversation beforehand. In this conversation, I usually express how I’m feeling that day. And I get specific, saying things like “I would love to make love to you, but I am having a lot of gastrointestinal pain, so no penetration, OK honey?” Or: “I really want to be close to you right now, and I feel pretty good, but I think it might be best to not be focused on achieving orgasm today because I took some meds that might impede it.” Or: “My skin is feeling extra sensitive today, so while I want to be intimate with you, I need you to shave your face first so your stubble doesn’t hurt my skin. Could you do that for me please?” When you couch these conversations in the framework of “I want to connect with you… I want to be intimate with you… I love you…” it makes it easier for your partner to hear you and understand, and to comply. Timing is also an issue. It might feel like it’s breaking the mood if you’re making out and then you start to take your clothes off… and then pause to explain your needs. But you’ve got to do it! The alternative is NOT explaining your needs, getting even more hot and heavy, and then having to stop mid-session because your partner accidentally did something to hurt you. That would suck....

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AWAP Wednesday: How Can I Learn Sexual Confidence In Spite of Illness/Disability?

Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in ChronicBabe Basics, fears, featured, relationships, sexuality | 12 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday* video answers a question from a fellow ChronicBabe. She’s wondering how to get more comfortable with her sexuality so she can have confidence in dating… but she feels somewhat limited by her inability to have what is considered “sex” in popular culture. I’ve got news for her (and you): There is no “normal” sex. There is no standard way to do it. Once we stop measuring ourselves against this narrow standard, the experience gets a whole lot easier. Here’s my advice to her and any other women with chronic illness who want to explore their sexuality with confidence: Now it’s your turn: Now it’s your turn: How have you handled the challenge of exploring your sexuality after chronic illness or disability shows up? How do you research your options? How do you handle initial conversations on dates? I want to know! Join the conversation in the comments below. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has almost six hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! *AWAP = As Well As Possible A (rough) transcript: Q: I wonder if you could address sex/sexuality and chronic illness. Obviously everyone is effected differently by their illness. I can’t have what is generally considered “sex” by our culture, but I can enjoy some sexual pleasure with another patient, imaginative person or by myself. Still I find myself feeling insecure and overwhelmed when I think of embarking on a new relationship or even furthering my own exploration of my sexuality. A: Great question. You’re a brave babe for asking it, too, because most people are too afraid to talk about sex. But not me! Because we’re not talking face-to-face, I’m not sure how you define “what is generally considered ‘sex’ by our culture.” I’m going to assume you’re talking about consensual, missionary, penetration-style sex between a man and a woman. Don’t worry, you’re normal So let’s shatter the myth right now that you’re not “normal” if that’s not your scene. Plenty of people — and when I say people, I mean women and men, straight, gay, bisexual or transgendered individuals because this conversation is all-inclusive — plenty of people never have what our culture narrowly defines as “sex,” because it doesn’t work for them. That might be because they have limitations from disability or illness, or they just may not be into that kind of thing. Get to know yourself sexually The best way for you to build confidence, in my book, is to get to know yourself. The more you try new things...

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