“My body breaks dur­ing sex”

A rare con­di­tion causes Sarah Riggs’ joints to pop out of their sock­ets – so mak­ing love is risky

Closer (UK) - - Contents - By Poppy Danby

hen Sarah Riggs’ W hus­band cheek­ily sug­gests an early night, she has to spend a whole day psych­ing her­self up for the pain it could cause. For the mum of two suf­fers from Eh­lers-dan­los Syn­drome (EDS) – a con­di­tion which makes her joints prone to pop­ping out of their sock­ets.

Sarah, 27, who lives with Trevor*, 31, and their two chil­dren in Bournemouth, says, “Lots of ac­tiv­i­ties can cause my joints to dis­lo­cate, but sex is par­tic­u­larly dan­ger­ous so we’ve had to adapt in the be­d­room. As my con­di­tion is de­gen­er­a­tive, even­tu­ally I may not be able to have sex at all, so we have to make the most of it while we can.”

Although Sarah was born with EDS, it went un­di­ag­nosed un­til she was in her 20s. At 15, she fell off her bike and her shoul­der popped out of place. Af­ter that, she found her bones dis­lo­cat­ing reg­u­larly un­til it started hap­pen­ing al­most ev­ery day.

She says, “Ini­tially, I wasn’t too wor­ried as it didn’t af­fect my life. But I started dat­ing Trevor in 2009 and later fell preg­nant in 2011 – and my pelvis sep­a­rated and my hips kept mov­ing out of place. It was so painful I was given a Cae­sarean at 34 weeks. Doc­tors had no clue what was wrong.”


Then, when she fell preg­nant for a sec­ond time in 2014, her con­di­tion caused labour pains for 10 weeks be­fore she gave birth.

She says, “It was horrific and I was con­stantly in and out of hos­pi­tal. Fi­nally, in 2015, I was re­ferred to an or­thopaedic sur­geon who recog­nised I had EDS. I was told the ge­netic con­di­tion is ex­tremely rare and caused by tis­sue in the body be­ing too stretchy. Dev­as­tat­ingly there is no cure. How­ever, they did show me how to slot my own bones back into po­si­tion.”

Sarah’s con­di­tion is de­gen­er­a­tive, though – and steadily get­ting worse. She says, “Some­times I’ll be walk­ing down the street and my hip will dis­lo­cate. It’s ex­cru­ci­at­ing and I have to stop what I’m do­ing and find some­where to slot it back in.”


And it’s also af­fected Sarah’s ro­man­tic life. She says, “Since the birth of my first child, we’ve only had sex around three times a month. And I can only do it ly­ing down with my legs up or from be­hind.

“I still en­joy get­ting in­ti­mate, but we re­cently had to stop be­cause my shoul­der com­pletely fell out of place. The pain was horrific and I had to lean off the edge of the bed while Trevor pulled it back into place. It def­i­nitely kills the mo­ment.”

How­ever, the cou­ple are try­ing hard to work round their is­sues.

Sarah says, “We’ve started us­ing sex toys so I don’t have to move around so much. I hope that one day there will be an op­er­a­tion I can have to get my life back on track.”

Her con­di­tion causes her shoul­der to dis­lo­cate

She was con­stantly in and out of hos­pi­tal try­ing to get to the bot­tom of her symp­toms

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