Sexual Activity

It is normal to feel anxious or uncertain about resuming sexual activity after heart surgery. The amount of energy it requires to perform intercourse is similar to climbing one to two flights of stairs or walking about one-half mile at a brisk pace. If you cannot perform these activities without becoming tired or short of breath, please allow additional recovery time before resuming sexual activity.

General guidelines for couples resuming sexual activity:

  • Use positions which limit pressure or weight on the breastbone or tension on the arms and chest for six to eight weeks after surgery. Choose a time when you are rested, relaxed and free from stress.
  • Wait one to three hours after eating a full meal to allow time for digestion
  • Select a familiar, peaceful setting that is free from interruptions.
  • Allow a gradual return of sexual activity.
  • Avoid sexual activity under temperature extremes.

Report to your doctor if the following symptoms should occur:

  • Persistent chest discomfort during intercourse
  • Rapid heart rate or difficulty breathing that persists for greater than 10 minutes after orgasm.
  • Feelings of extreme fatigue after orgasm.
  • Development or persistence of other sexual difficulties
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