Relationships and Psoriasis

Having psoriasis can affect your confidence. You might feel like everyone can see your psoriasis and is put off by it, or perhaps you're too nervous to socialise and make conversation with others.

The fact is that having psoriasis can make you feel unattractive. Even if you have psoriasis in places that are usually covered, the thought of having an intimate relationship with someone, letting them see your psoriasis, and the question of how they will react, can be scary. It can be hard to act confident and have fun when you just don’t feel like it. Here are some tips for how you can let others know that your psoriasis is just one tiny part of the bigger picture that is you!

Meeting people

Confident people seem to just have a knack for making friends, getting to know people, and having great social lives.

How do they do it?!

Everyone suffers with feeling shy and self-conscious at some point, especially when growing up, or in situations like starting at a new college or going to uni. Psoriasis can make you feel pretty rubbish, but there’s so much more to you than one skin condition! The truth is that, for way more people than you’d think, the trick to having confidence is to fake it ‘til you make it.

If you need a bit of help meeting and talking to new people, try joining a club. Whether it’s an after-college club, a uni club or society, or just a hobby you enjoy doing. You’ll meet other people with the same sorts of interests, outside of their ‘usual’ friendship groups. And the good news is, you already have stuff in common to talk about!

Also, pay attention to your body language. If you look closed-off (folded arms, looking at the floor), other people might find you unapproachable... And other people get nervous about going up to someone and speaking to them first, too! The best way to get people to come and talk to you is to look friendly, have ‘open’ body language, make eye contact, and smile.

Overall, although it can feel like psoriasis rules your life, try not to think of it as the be-all-and-end-all. It is one small part of your life, but there is much, much more to your looks and personality! Give other people a chance to see that. Accept invitations to do things go places and have fun. ‘Normalise’ your psoriasis by acknowledging that it’s there, talking to friends about it and letting them ask questions.

Relationships, sex and psoriasis

Having sex with someone for the first time is a big deal, and should be something you’re ready for, feel good about, and do safely.

You should feel comfortable and safe with the person, unpressured, and have thought about contraception and protection from sexually transmitted diseases. This goes for everybody, not just people with psoriasis!

There’s absolutely no reason why people with psoriasis can’t have relationships or sex, and loads of people with psoriasis have no problem whatsoever. The condition can, however, sometimes affect your love life in a couple of ways:

Firstly, we’re back to the issue of confidence. If you feel unattractive and are worried about how your partner will react to the psoriasis on your body, it can affect your relationship before you even get to the issue of sex. It can be hard, but it’s so important you talk to your partner about this. Tell them about your worries; make sure they understand what psoriasis is and how it looks.

If you like, you could work up to showing them your psoriasis; perhaps show them psoriasis on more visible, less intimate places, such as hands or arms, first. Encourage them to ask you questions about it too, the more you acknowledge your psoriasis and feel comfortable talking about it, the more it will become a normal part of you and your relationship.

It’s also important that you remember that psoriasis is just one small part of you. A partner that loves and respects you, who is properly informed about your condition, should be able to look past your psoriasis and probably won’t think about it anywhere near as much as you worry they will.

Secondly, the pain or discomfort of psoriasis can be a barrier to sex. Again, it’s important here to talk to your partner and together find ways of working around your psoriasis.

Psoriasis on the genitals can, understandably, make sex quite uncomfortable. It’s important to mention psoriasis in these areas to your doctor, although it might be a bit embarrassing, as there are specific treatments that can be prescribed. Being proactive and treating the psoriasis is the first step towards gaining confidence!

Many people with psoriasis in the genital area still have sex and, like all aspects of psoriasis, it is a process of trial and error to find tips and tricks to help. For more information, have a look at our leaflet on Psoriasis in Sensitive Areas.

For more information on sexual health and contraception, check out NHS Choices.

For more information on dealing with people and relationships when you have a visible difference, contact Changing Faces.

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