Education Article /  Is There Sex Life after a Heart Attack?

Is There Sex Life after a Heart Attack?

Posted by National CPR Association |

Aug 24, 2018

People who have just recovered from a heart attack often want to go on with their lives just the way they enjoyed it before. Many would want to remain active and go on living the way they used to – including their romantic activities. So it is not uncommon for a patient to wonder if there are any restrictions to their activities, including sex.

The good news is that one can continue to have sex after recovering from a heart attack. However, there are some things to consider:

  • If you had a procedure such as an open heart surgery, it may take a while before your surgical wounds completely heal for you to start being active again.
  • Your doctor may advise you to rest for at least two weeks after a heart attack before resuming your normal activities again.
  • Your general health may not be the same as it used to be before your heart attack, so you level of activities may not be the same.
  • You are likely to take some medications that may affect your ability to perform any physical activity.
  • Some women lose interest in sex after suffering from a heart attack.
  • Some men lose their ability to achieve an erection or to maintain it after their heart attack.
  • Other health problems, as well as depression, may lead to problems having sex after a heart attack.
  • Some people are stressed or worried over their health, which reduces their ability to enjoy sex.

Fortunately, most of these problems improve after some time, and with proper medical and psychological support, many people are able to resume their regular activities after a heart attack.


Returning to Normal Activity


One of the important things to do after a heart attack is to prevent another heart attack. This may involve:

  • Making some lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and remaining physically active.
  • Taking medicines as prescribed to control high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, and to relieve chest discomfort or pain.
  • Going on a cardiac rehabilitation program to slowly help you return to normal activity.

Before you think of driving a vehicle, jogging a mile, or having sex with your partner, consult your doctor about your health. Here are some tips:

  • Always take your medications as instructed.
  • If you are having problems with your medications, such as unwanted side effects, ask your doctor to substitute or adjust the dose. Do not skip your medications, substitute or adjust the dose without talking to your doctor first.
  • Stay active but know your limits. Exercise can improve your health and your ability to perform, but heed the warning signs that you may be overdoing your physical activity.
  • Join a support group who may help you talk about your fears, anxieties and concerns not only about your health, but also your sex life. Many people share the same feeling and have coped with them.
  • Get support from your family and friends to help with daily chores and to relieve your stress and anxiety.
  • Seek help immediately (call 911) if you experience these symptoms:
    • Chest pain
    • Pressure or heaviness on the chest
    • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded or faint
    • Trouble breathing
    • Nausea
    • Rapid pulses
    • Weakness or fatigue
    • Irregular heart beat


Remember that once you have had a heart attack, you have a higher risk for another one. Know the difference between angina (chest pain) and a heart attack. Chest pain or angina often occurs in people who have coronary heart disease. It usually occurs after some physical activity, but it goes away within a few minutes of resting or taking medications. On the other hand, when you have a heart attack, the pain is usually is more severe and the pain does not go away with rest or medication. In any case, it is best to call 911 if you feel any of these symptoms.


Sex After a Heart Attack

An important reminder to men – avoid taking performance enhancers or medicines like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra). These drugs are often prescribed to men who have trouble achieving or maintaining an erection, they may not be safe for men who are taking other medicines such as nitrates or nitroglycerin. This combination of drugs can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Furthermore, do not purchase these drugs through the internet or though other doctors who do not know your health history.