Can I have sex after a heart attack?
There are likely many questions running through your mind after having a heart attack. One very common one is whether it is safe to have sex, and if so, when it is safe to do so.
It's normal to feel uncomfortable talking about sex with a healthcare provider, but don't be embarrassed to do so. Sex is part of a healthy and enjoyable life, and you will not be the first person who has ever discussed sex with your doctor.
Many doctors advise that you can have sex again once you are able to do moderate physical activity like walking briskly or climbing stairs without pain or other symptoms. Others may want to first perform a test to check the health of your heart. The factors that determine when any individual can resume sexual activity will be different and that's why it's best to talk to your doctor.
Even when you've been given the green light to have sex again, you may feel uneasy. If you do, you are certainly not alone. Here are five tips that may help:
- Be open with your partner. Talk openly and honestly with your partner so you can each share your concerns. You're likely not the only one worried about having sex after a heart attack.
- Take it slow. Resume sex gradually. Begin with being intimate in ways that won't stress your heart and progress as you feel comfortable.
- Relax. Stress and anxiety can interfere with sexual activity in both physical and emotional ways. Find a time and place that makes you feel comfortable.
- Listen to your body. Just as with any type of exercise, pay attention to warning signs. Take it easy or stop if you have pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or palpitations. If your symptoms don't go away with rest, call your doctor.
- Discuss sexual issues with a professional. Some people experience sexual problems, such as loss of interest or erectile dysfunction, after a heart attack. Counseling or medication may help.