“My body breaks during sex”
A rare condition causes Sarah Riggs’ joints to pop out of their sockets – so making love is risky
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