Changing Faces
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Relationships and Intimacy

Many studies indicate that living with a skin condition can have an effect on the development and maintenance of intimate relationships. The literature demonstrates that living with a visible difference (whether it is a skin condition or not) is interpersonal - it doesn't just impact the individual but also their relationships with (potential) partners.

There are a number of issues raised in the literature on skin conditions and intimacy; such as the challenge of discussing the condition with a (potential) partner, the impact of spending a lot of time, money and thought on surgery, treatment and recurrent appointments, the effect feeling negative about an aspect of your body can have on levels of intimacy with a partner etc.

Of course, not everyone with a visible difference will experience difficulties with regards to romantic/intimate relationships, however, some of you may be able to relate to the issues in the above paragraph.

Concerns about intimacy/relationships are important and should be taken seriously and addressed. You may have general questions about intimacy or quite specific, practical concerns. It can sometimes be hard to raise these concerns with your peers/family. For example, a person with a disfigurement which affects the shape of their lips may have very specific questions about kissing. Others may have concerns about passing on their condition to their children. All these concerns are legitimate and important. Medical professionals should take your concerns about intimacy seriously and should not mind answering any questions you may have.

6 Replies

A really good article- so glad you are talking about this important but often taboo subject. In an ideal world medical professionals should take concerns about intimacy seriously. I am not so sure the majority have the time or confidence to do so? what's your experience?


I am 19 and have, what I believe to be, a bathing trunk nevi which is beginning to impact on my perception of intimate relationships and whether I could ever form one in the long term. A lot more can be done by medical profs and others in society to address this issue and make individuals feel more confident. I think that the intimacy workshop is a fantastic opportunity to get people like myself together to talk about this delicate issue, and I would love to see something similar brought to my university!



In case anyone would like to know more about the intimacy workshop here is the link:


Louise Krug writes a piece on dating after facial paralysis and disability for the Guardian...


I've only seen this thread about the intimacy workshop...I know this is an issue I deal with or more accurately don't deal with but should. My condition has affected the movement of my tongue so when it comes to communication and particularly kissing I'm very insecure about it. Not sure what if anything could be done here but I'm glad there is a workshop addressing these issues in general.


Just signposting Changing Faces guide to relationships - its quite long so I haven't read it all but thought I would add the link to this thread! ;)