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After a heart event, how can I be intimate with my partner without sex?

If you recently experienced a heart event, you may not be able - or may not be ready - to resume sexual activity. Even so, it is still possible to feel close to your partner. Try some of these ways to build intimacy while nurturing your relationship as well as your mending heart. As long as you are both clear beforehand how you spend these moments shouldn’t and won’t lead to sex during this important time, potential disappointment or hurt feelings can be avoided -- and the two of you can focus on these and other exciting explorations of intimacy. 

  • Listen to your favorite kind of music together. Slow dance together if you are able.
  • Go on a date together. Go to a museum, park, zoo, show, concert, or movie. Take an interest in your partner’s hobbies. Or do anything that you both enjoy. Better yet, try something new to you both.
  • Take a walk or stroll together. Go as slow as you need to, but getting out in fresh air can help improve your mood. Exercise itself also releases endorphins, or “feel-good” chemicals, which may help counteract negative emotions, such as fear or depression.
  • Hold hands, while watching television, for example, or while out and about.
  • Offer simple, physical touch on a daily basis that non-verbally reassures your partner that you care. For example, a pat or brush on the back when passing by, or a hug or kiss for no reason.
  • Cuddle up with your partner on the couch.
  • Light candles and have a candle-lit dinner.
  • Give each other a back massage.
  • Take a bath together.

Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

After a heart event, you can be intimate with your partner doing the following:

  • Listen to your favorite kind of music together. 
  • Slow dance together if you are able. 
  • Go on a date together. Go to a museum, park, zoo, show, concert, or movie. Take an interest in your partner’s hobbies. Or do anything that you both enjoy. Better yet, try something new to you both.
  • Take a walk or stroll together. Go as slow as you need to, but getting out in fresh air can help improve your mood. Exercise itself also releases endorphins, or “feel-good” chemicals, which may help counteract negative emotions, such as fear or depression. 
  • Hold hands, while watching television, for example, or while out and about.
  • Offer simple, physical touch on a daily basis that non-verbally reassures your partner that you care. For example, a pat or brush on the back when passing by, or a hug or kiss for no reason. 
  • Cuddle up with your partner on the couch. Light candles and have a candle-lit dinner. 
  • Give each other a back massage.
  • Take a bath together.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.