Hannah Shewan Stevens, 29, shares her remarkable, life-changing journey from pain to pleasure.
My eyes shot open as a searing pain crawled from the bottom of my back, up my spine and across my shoulders.
“I’m so sick of this,” I groaned.
I was 21, and had just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia – a chronic pain condition.
My diagnosis had been a long and excruciating journey.
At 14, I started getting pain in my back.
At first, I thought I’d pulled a muscle, but weeks turned to months, and the pain hadn’t disappeared.
I went to the doctor, who sent me off with painkillers.
When that didn’t work, I went back again.
It took several visits before my symptoms were finally taken seriously.
I was referred to the hospital and my GP prescribed me with high strength opiates to manage my pain, while they tried to get to the bottom of things.
Each day, I’d suffer searing stabs of pain and fierce aches, often so bad I couldn’t move.
At times, I’d be in bed for days.
While under the care of my local hospital, doctors had several theories about what it could be, including arthritis and spinal growth.
Some doctors claimed it was all in my head or that I was exaggerating, even though I relied on strong pain medication to get me through the day.
I struggled to sleep, and whenever I did make it to school, and later uni – which wasn’t often – I couldn’t concentrate.
Luckily, my teachers were understanding.
“We’ll do whatever we can to help you,” one of my lecturers told me after I broke down in tears during his lecture.
Eight years of poking and prodding later, I finally had an answer, but here was the kicker – there was no cure.
The only thing I could do was religiously take the codeine and tramadol I’d been prescribed.
But when I ran out of medication while the chemist was shut the panic attack I had terrified me.
I laid curled up on my bedroom floor crying, sure I was about to die.
It made me realise how dependent I was on my pills, taking up to 15 a day – way more than the recommended amount.
Even then, they barely touched the sides.
No more, I vowed.
I started smoking weed, which helped, but I’d replaced one addiction with another.
Then, in 2015, I moved to London, and when I sought help while there, I was introduced to new methods to manage my pain.
I tried lidocaine infusions and a treatment called the Alexander technique. I also tried meditation.
But although these gave me slight relief, the pain was always there.
Then, in 2019, a chance encounter changed everything and transformed my life.
Making love to my boyfriend, I groaned in pleasure as I could feel myself beginning to climax.
“Keep going, I’m nearly there,” I encouraged him.
Suddenly, my body erupted like it never had before, and in that moment, I felt no pain – just bliss!
It was the first time in years that no part of my body felt any discomfort.
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“Are you okay?” my boyfriend asked, seeing the stunned look on my face.
“Yes,” I smiled. “I feel nothing.”
Of course, that required an explanation, and after I gave one, he became much more understanding and was happy for me.
“Shall we try again?” he suggested enthusiastically.
We spent the next few days exploring the possibilities of using pleasure to eradicate pain.
I’d had orgasms before, but the intensity of the one I’d had made it different.
Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that orgasms would not work as a miracle cure – as the pain would always return – but every climax brought some period of calm with it.
It sometimes only lasted a few minutes but occasionally stretched to half an hour. Even a single second was better than never being pain-free.
My boyfriend and I eventually split up, but that didn’t stop my experimentation. It allowed me to delve deeper into what made me click instead of him getting in the way.
I soon discovered that beginning and ending the day with an orgasm made my average pain levels for the day lower. Orgasms became my go-to pain management tool.
On the days when fibromyalgia left me bedridden, I spent the entire day repeatedly climaxing to ease the pain.
I approach pain relief orgasms completely differently from sexual pleasure.
I put on soothing music and focus on physical sensations, excluding sexual fantasies.
I adopted this approach when I could not enjoy partnered sex because I kept chasing painlessness, instead of connection.
Having used this technique consistently for nine months, I now have the art of orgasm down to a fine science and know my body better than ever.
I can achieve eight unique types of orgasms and even climax completely hands-free!
Coupled with regular physiotherapy, exercise, and meditation, I can manage fibromyalgia more effectively, and my mental health has improved.
Since researching orgasms as a pain relief, I discovered many studies that reveal it as an effective way to manage pain, but it was never mentioned to me by any doctors or other sufferers. Maybe they didn’t feel comfortable sharing it.
That’s why I wanted to speak out, so others don’t have to endure years of relentless pain like I have.