How soon after aortic surgery can I have sex?

Thousands of heart patients have learned that having heart disease, a heart attack, a stroke, or undergoing surgery does not mean an end to a satisfying sex life. After the first phase of recovery is complete, patients find that the same forms of lovemaking that were pleasing before are still rewarding.

Many myths surround sex after heart disease. The most common one is that resuming sex often brings on a heart attack, stroke, or sudden death. This simply isn't true. There's no reason why heart patients can't resume usual sexual activity as soon as they feel ready to do so. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Fears about performance and general depression are two psychological factors that can greatly reduce sexual interest and capacity. After recovery, heart patients may feel depressed. This depression is normal, and in 85% of the cases it disappears within three months. However, it tends to exaggerate whatever previous sexual problems were present between partners.

Feel free to resume sexual activity once you've checked with your doctor.

Until your sternum has healed to its full strength (approximately six weeks), it is suggested that the patient is located in the bottom position or that a side by side position is utilized.

Choose a time when you are rested, relaxed and free from the stressful feelings brought on by the day's schedules and responsibilities.

Wait one to three hours after eating a full meal so that digestion can take place.

Select a familiar, peaceful setting that is free from interruptions.
Sexual activity should be discussed with your care team. Generally, you may continue sexual activities unless you become short of breath, dizzy or unusually tired.

Sexual activity may be possible if you:
  • Avoid positions that cause discomfort to the chest.
  • Avoid activity on days that you do not feel well.
  • Consider less strenuous forms of pleasure such as touching.
If you are tired or tense, wait until you feel better.
You can resume sexual activity after discharge within reason. You cannot support your weight with your arms, so limit sexual positions to those that do not require you to bear weight on your arms.

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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.