Table 1

Superordinate and subordinate themes

Superordinate themesTheme 1
Physical intimacy
Theme 2
Emotional intimacy
Theme 3
Image of self
Theme 4
Role of the Healthcare Professional
SubthemesAn overwhelming exhaustionPressure to performSelf-loathingPrevious experience
The ‘third party’Self preservationAcceptance of selfA taboo topic
Palpitations and paramedicsA problem sharedCarer vs loverThe ideal scenario
Adaptation and experimentation
Practical difficulties