Blog post: You can stop asthma ruining your love life

Has your wheezing ever got in the way of a good snog? Have you had to put passion on pause to take a puff of your reliever inhaler? You’re not alone.

14 February 2017

In our Asthma and Your Love Life survey, over two-thirds (68 per cent) of people told us their asthma gets in the way of their sex life, while almost half (46 per cent) said they’d be more sexually confident if they didn’t have the condition. Seventy-three per cent of respondents said they felt embarrassed about using their inhaler on a date, and over half of all respondents said they’ve cringed about wheezing during a romantic night out.  

You deserve a symptom-free love life

Our respondents mentioned issues like having to stop mid-sex to take their inhaler and certain sexual positions triggering their symptoms. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to get your symptoms under control - so you can be confident your asthma won’t get in the way of romance.  

Take charge of your asthma

If sex triggers your symptoms, it may be a sign your asthma is not as well managed as it could be. Try these three simple tips to help get your sex life back on track and free from asthma symptoms:

 1) Book an appointment with your GP or asthma nurse to have your asthma medicines reviewed and your inhaler technique checked. This is so you can be sure you’re getting the most from your medicines. Your GP or asthma nurse will also be able to reassure you, and give you practical advice to help you feel more comfortable managing asthma and sex.  

2) Download and an asthma action plan and fill it in with your GP or asthma nurse. This will help you and your partner to keep an eye on your asthma so you know what to do if your symptoms get worse.

3) Call our Helpline on 0300 222 5800 (Mon – Fri; 9am – 5pm) to speak to one of our friendly asthma nurses. They can offer confidential advice and support about managing your asthma so you can enjoy a symptom-free sex life.

Know your date-night triggers

In our survey, 65 per cent of people said scented candles have triggered their asthma symptoms on a date, while cigarette smoke, alcohol, dust, strong smelling flowers and open fires were all cited as common triggers. Strong emotions and laughing too much are also culprits, as our survey respondents explain:

“Sometimes just laughing too much on a date can trigger my asthma and leaves me feeling breathless.”

“Walking past smokers outside of a restaurant or the cinema can set my asthma off.”

“I once had a date in a bar where there was a smoke machine and I started wheezing and coughing. I didn't have my reliever inhaler so I had to leave and call a family member to bring it to me.”

Unless your date destination is a bare-walled room, try our top three tips to help you deal with asthma triggers so you don’t have to worry about getting symptoms:

  1. Try and anticipate any triggers you might come into contact with on a date so you can reduce your risk of getting symptoms. For example, if strong perfume or aftershave is likely to affect your asthma, let your date know before you meet.
  2. Remember to keep your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you just in case you start getting symptoms. If you feel embarrassed about using your inhaler in front of your date, pop to the loo instead.  
  3. If you’ve been prescribed a preventer inhaler (usually brown) make sure you’re taking it as prescribed – even when you’re well - so there’s less chance of a reaction if you come into contact with any triggers. This is so the medicine can continue working in the background to reduce sensitivity and inflammation in your lungs, and build up resistance to your triggers.

Read more tips to deal with asthma triggers.

Be honest and ask for support

Have you ever thought about talking to your GP or asthma nurse about asthma and your love life? They’ll be able reassure and support you whatever your asthma concerns, and don’t worry – they’ve heard it all before, as our in-house GP, Dr Andrew Whittamore explains:

Everyone has body hang-ups and health gripes that cause embarrassment and it can be really hard to talk to your partner about how you’re feeling - but being open and honest can be incredibly positive for your whole relationship, including in bed.

“When it comes to sex, we’ve learned to just roll with it. If I start getting symptoms and I need to stop to use my nebuliser or inhaler, we just laugh and joke about how hot I look with a nebuliser mask on! It’s funny to think that while some people take toys into the bedroom, I take inhalers.” – Callie-Anne, 30

Read more tips on dealing with asthma, sex and relationships.

If you have severe asthma, you can find dedicated advice and support here.

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