For most couples, sex is an important part of the relationship. When something gets in the way of a rich and vibrant sex life - relationship issues or a health condition, for example - the partnership can suffer. One common chronic condition that affects some couples in the bedroom is lower back pain. When one partner is in pain, she may not be in the mood; making matters worse, the sex act itself can exacerbate pain, making it something that many sufferers avoid often or altogether. According to Statistics Canada, 73% of women with back pain report a significant reduction in sexual activity. What can a man do for his partner - and the relationship - in this situation? For his lady’s comfort, the relationship’s well-being and his own penis health, men with partners in pain can learn what sex positions will put their lovers at ease and restore enjoyment to this wonderful bonding activity.

The Study

Researchers at the University of Waterloo conducted a study in which they analyzed muscle loading and spinal movement in 10 couples who were having intercourse. These couples did the deed in five common positions - two variations of doggy-style, two variations of missionary and, finally, spooning.

The researchers also distinguished between two broad types of lower back pain: flexion-intolerant (made worse when the person bends forward) and extension-intolerant (exacerbated by arching the back). Using the data collected from the muscle loading and spinal movement detections, they determined which positions were likely best and worst for both types of pain.

Best Positions for Flexion-Intolerant Women

Women whose pain is worse when bending forward will likely enjoy the following positions:

- Spooning: This intimate position involves both partners lying on their sides, usually with knees bent to some degree, with the woman’s back pressed up against the man’s chest and stomach.

- Hand-supported doggy-style: Here, the woman is on all fours, and the man enters from behind. Her back is fairly neutral, or slightly arched. The elbow-supported variation of this position is less ideal; women with flexion-intolerant pain will probably be most comfortable supporting themselves with their hands instead.

Worst Positions for Flexion-Intolerant Women

Woman with this type of back pain are not likely to be comfortable in missionary positions.

Best Positions for Extension-Intolerant Women

Women whose pain is exacerbated by arching their backs may be most comfortable in the following positions:

- Missionary (standard): Classic missionary, with the woman lying flat on her back and the man on top, discourages back extension.

- Missionary variation: Similar to standard missionary, the woman lies on her back, but she can flex her hips and knees for a different sensation. Her lower back will be neutral or slightly flexed in this position.

Worst Positions for Extension-Intolerant Woman

- Doggy-style: Variations of doggy-style all promote spinal extension.

- Spooning: A woman may be prone to arching her back in this position.

More Hope to Come

The researchers who conducted this study plan to do more research within this field, considering additional types of pain as well as more positions. This means couples whose sex lives have been hindered by chronic pain have a lot to look forward to. Of course, couples can engage in private, non-scientific experimentation in the meantime. Always check in with a partner about comfort levels and preferences.

Along with trying out scientifically-backed sex positions with his partner in pain, a man can improve his sex life by taking good care of his pleasure-maker. A penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil), loaded with vital nutrients, can help support circulatory, nerve and skin health. Shea butter and vitamin E leave the skin smooth, elastic and hydrated. Vitamin A is another key ingredient; it’s antibacterial properties help keep penile odors at bay, making the member far more appealing to one’s partner.