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Happy couple embracing under blanket

Opening Up to Your Partner About Asthma and Intimacy

Reading time | 2 mins
Asthma can be a worry during romantically intimate moments. Don’t keep your partner in the dark about your condition or feelings on the matter, says Michelle Rivas.


For many people, discussing romantic and physical intimacy can be a difficult or awkward topic. The conversation can be even more challenging when you add in a chronic condition like asthma.

It’s hard to admit that asthma could impact a romantic relationship, but it’s not uncommon. In a survey conducted by Asthma UK, two-thirds of 500 participants said their condition interferes with their romantic lives.

It can be embarrassing to duck aside because you’re wheezing during an intimate moment. It might even sound like an excuse to avoid intimacy altogether if your partner doesn’t have asthma or understand the condition.

The emotional effects this can have on a person with asthma can go much deeper. You might feel guilty, rejected, shameful, or annoyed that your body doesn’t always cooperate with your heart and mind.

I thought “admitting” to having asthma would repel my partner

At first, I didn't want to share my asthma with my partner because I was afraid of seeming fragile. I never wanted to feel like a damsel in distress, especially early on in our relationship. I wanted him to see me as strong and independent.

I didn’t mean to keep my asthma a secret. It also wasn’t something I wanted to shout from the mountaintops. It took a few months before I finally began to open up and share more about myself and my condition with my future husband.

So how can we avoid negative feelings and asthma attacks during intimate moments? We need to have an "asthma talk" with our partners, doctors, and ourselves.

Talk to your partner about asthma and how it affects you

Don’t leave your partner in the dark about your asthma. Remember that this person cares about you, and they want you to be healthy and well above all else.

Even if you think you’ve been playing it cool, your partner is likely aware of your cautiousness or avoidance of intimacy.

They’re likely concerned, and it’s up to you to show them how they can help you. For example, they should know if your asthma or allergies can be triggered by scented candles or flowers before they try making any grand romantic gestures. Partners should also be aware that any pets may aggravate your asthma symptoms.

The bottom line: Relationships are built on trust, and an open dialogue is crucial.

Consult your doctor about your asthma plan

You should talk to your healthcare provider if your asthma is uncontrolled with any form of physical activity or allergen exposure.

Pay attention to how much asthma and asthma attacks impact your lifestyle. Do you avoid intimacy because you worry about asthma disrupting the moment?

Like in personal relationships, honest and open dialogue with your healthcare team is super important. If your symptoms are flaring with activity, your doctor needs to know!

Check-in with yourself

Is intimacy really the trigger for your asthma? Or is it something else? Anxiety? Potential allergy?

Keep a journal of when your asthma symptoms flare and try to pinpoint your asthma triggers. Your partner can help eliminate triggers, too. This is critical information for your next doctor’s visit.

Remember that you deserve love, intimacy, and respect. You are not your asthma. Having asthma symptoms does not make you less worthy. And you shouldn’t ever feel shame or embarrassment with your partner.

NPS-IE-NP-00684 February 2023