I’m embarrassed to tell my new boyfriend/girlfriend I have asthma
I’m worried I’ll get asthma symptoms at a romantic moment
I don’t want to use my reliever inhaler on a date
I’m concerned that sex will trigger my asthma symptoms
My partner is holding back because they’re worried sex will give me an asthma attack
Other asthma triggers to be aware of on romantic occasions
If you’re spending a lot of time with someone, it’s a good idea to tell them you have asthma and what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Some people feel embarrassed about telling a new partner they have asthma, but remember that asthma is common, so they probably have friends or family who have it.
Once you've told them, you can stop worrying about it so much. And if you do get asthma symptoms while you're with them it won't take them by surprise, or feel too embarrassing for you both.
Keep it simple at first:
- Tell them where you keep your reliever inhaler in case they ever need to help you get it.
- Show them your written asthma action plan so they know more about your asthma and how you manage it.
If you’ve been diagnosed with severe asthma, the symptoms can be harder to manage and can get in the way of everyday life, so you might decide to talk to your partner about it early on.
Some people find that strong emotions like excitement and nervousness can trigger asthma symptoms like breathlessness and coughing.
If you’re worried this may happen at the wrong time, whether you’re on a first date or having a romantic evening with a long-term partner, you’re not alone.
The best way to reduce the risk of symptoms getting in the way of a special moment is to make sure your asthma’s well managed.
And make sure you always take your reliever inhaler out with you in case you do have asthma symptoms. You could also keep a spare reliever at your partner's house.
If you’re managing your asthma well, you’re less likely to need to use your reliever inhaler when you’re out on a date.
But if you do need to use it, try not to worry. It probably won't bother the person you’re seeing.
If you feel self-conscious though, you could go to the bathroom to use your reliever inhaler, as long as you feel well enough to get there.
Tell your date you’re having asthma symptoms so they can check you’re okay if you don’t come back quickly. Leave the door unlocked so someone can get to you if you need help.
Some people find having sex triggers their asthma symptoms. This could be due to intense emotions like excitement, or the effects of physical activity.
Again, making sure your asthma is well managed is the best way to stop this happening.
If you do get symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily need to spoil the moment:
- Keep your reliever inhaler handy so you can use it quickly and easily.
- Wait until your symptoms have stopped and you feel better, then carry on if you want to.
- Make sure you know what to do if symptoms don’t go away. Your written asthma action plan will tell you.
If sex is triggering your asthma, have a chat with your GP or asthma nurse. They're used to talking about intimate issues and will want to help you. For example, they might be able to suggest changes to your asthma medicines.
Remember, you can call our asthma nurses on 0300 222 5800 (9am - 5pm; Mon - Fri) if you have any worries, or you can WhatsApp them on 07378 606728.
People with severe asthma may need some more specific help with sex. You can find out more on our page about sex and relationships with severe asthma.
It’s great to have a partner who wants to help you stay well with your asthma, but their concerns needn’t get in the way of sex.
Encourage them to read our page about sex, which explains how to enjoy a fulfilling sex life while managing the possible risks.
You could also take them to an appointment with your GP or asthma nurse so they can talk about their concerns.
Or you could suggest they contact our Helpline.
An open fire can create a romantic atmosphere, but some people with asthma find smoke triggers symptoms. Create the mood you want with low lighting instead, or try LED or unscented candles.
Perfumes and other scents
Some people with asthma tell us that scents like perfumes, fragranced toiletries and scented candles can trigger symptoms. If these are a trigger for you, avoid using them yourself.
It’s natural to feel awkward telling a date that their perfume, aftershave, deodorant or body lotion is affecting your asthma, especially if you’ve only just started seeing them.
- make it clear that any strong scent can cause problems for you, so they don't take it personally
- open a window to help prevent any strong scents triggering your symptoms.
Some people with asthma find their symptoms are triggered by latex, which is often used to make condoms.
The good news is that latex-free condoms are widely available, so there’s no need for this trigger to get in the way of your sex life.
Food and drink
Last updated January 2020
Next review due January 2023