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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Intimacy and Heart Disease: Resuming Sexual IntimacyReanudaci³n de las relaciones sexuales

Intimacy and Heart Disease: Resuming Sexual Intimacy

Be patient. Give your partner and yourself time to rebuild intimacy.

When you both feel ready for sex, start slowly. Having sex with a partner you know well doesn't cause a heart attack. In fact, it takes only about as much energy as climbing two flights of stairs. Here are tips for resuming safe sexual intimacy.

Image of man and woman

Helpful Hints

  • Start out slowly and give yourself time to feel ready. Try hugging, kissing, touching, or caressing at first. They help you both feel close and wanted.

  • Choose a quiet, relaxed place to be intimate. Keep the temperature in the room comfortable.

  • Choose a time when you both feel rested. Try when you wake up in the morning or after taking a nap.

  • Wait at least 1 hour after eating, taking a bath or shower, or exercising before you have sex.

  • If your doctor has prescribed medication to be taken before sex, take it as directed.

If You Have Problems

  • If you have angina (chest pain) during sex, stop and take nitroglycerin as prescribed by your doctor. If the angina goes away, you can resume sex.

  • If you have shortness of breath during sex, stop for a few minutes. If it doesn't go away, or if it comes back when you resume sex, call your doctor.

  • If you have trouble sleeping after sex, or you are very tired the next day, talk to your doctor.

  • If you can't become aroused, talk with your doctor. Erectile dysfunction is fairly common. In most cases, your doctor can prescribe medication to improve sexual function.

If You've Had Heart Surgery

If you've had heart surgery, ask your doctor when you can resume sex. Once it's okay, know that sex won't cause you injury. Healing most often takes 4-6 weeks. To prevent pain until you've healed:

  • Try new positions that put less strain on your chest.

  • Avoid twisting movements until your breastbone has healed.

Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified: 2005-01-05T00:00:00-07:00

Jay L. Jordan, MD, is an experienced cardiologist and internal medicine physician who provides a comprehensive range of cardiac care services in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Glendale, Burbank, Calabasas and nearby communities. Take the first step in preventing and controlling heart disease with symptoms such as angina, arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, carotid artery disease, chest pain, congestive heart failure, coronary vascular disease, hypertension, palpitations, shortness of breath and stroke. Call Dr. Jay L. Jordan at 310-854-5493 or request an appointment online.

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