Post-surgery relationships

Many people are uncomfortable about asking their doctor about sex after surgery. The question is actually a common one, but unfortunately the answer is not straightforward. It depends on your personal healing progress and your overall health.

Sex after surgery

The type of surgery you have will affect the timing of when you can engage in sexual intercourse. Surgery in and around the reproductive organs and childbirth will probably require additional healing time prior to engaging in sexual activity.

In these cases, it is best to consult your doctor or surgeon to ask about timelines for safe sexual activities. Even though you may be anxious, it’s a clinical question and one that you need to know to make sure you are safe and your health is intact.

After major surgery such as heart or lung procedures, you may feel like you have fully recovered but you are putting yourself at risk when you exert yourself. If your doctor recommends that you stay away from usual strenuous activities such as exercise or gardening, you might want to reconsider resuming sexual intercourse.


Let pain be your guide

If you start to feel well enough and feel like you’re ready to start having sex again, take things slowly and use pain to evaluate your progress. If pain is present when you attempt to have intercourse, this could be your body’s way of saying you are not ready and that you need to heal more.

Perhaps modify your activity to suit your condition. For example, if the pain is associated with breast surgery, you may want to completely stay away from the chest area when you’re being intimate.  

Jumping straight into vigorous sexual activity straight after your doctor gives you the go ahead may not be the best way to resume activity. Start slow and listen to your body. Try to avoid pressure on areas that might still be tender or risk undoing the good work. Abstaining from your usual methods might just be the key to ensuring that you’re fully healed and to minimise any pain or discomfort. And remember, sex is to be enjoyed by both parties, so if you experience any pain, be sure to give yourselves permission to stop and try something else.

Being prepared for resuming intimacy is important by having an open, honest conversation with your partner about your healing process – before surgery takes place.

The most important thing is to be patient with yourself and when you are truly healthy and ready, you can enjoy yourself completely.

If you need more information or guidance, consult True Clinics or your clinician.