Sex and heart conditions
You can continue to enjoy a happy
and healthy sex life even if you have a heart condition. However,
it is normal to feel anxious about starting your sex life again if
you have a heart condition.
When can I start having sex again?
Whether you have angina or are
recovering from a heart attack or
heart surgery you can usually resume
sexual activity as soon as you are feeling well enough. After a
heart attack or surgery, this is normally within 4 – 6 weeks. If
you have had heart surgery, think about activities that avoid
putting too much pressure on your chest wound in the first few
There are lots of things that you can do to reduce your anxiety
about sex, such as:
- choosing a relaxing atmosphere
- caressing and touching may be a helpful start to increase your
- keeping the room and bed at a comfortable temperature.
When you are ready to start having sex again, think about the
- avoid having sex after a heavy meal
- avoid too much alcohol before sex
- find a comfortable position
- ask your partner to take a more active role
- if you have a GTN spray or tablets, keep them where you can
reach them just in case you need them.
Why am I experiencing a loss of sex drive?
Don’t worry about a loss of sex drive, or impotence. It is a
common problem and usually temporary. The emotional stress of your
condition or the medicines you have been prescribed could be the
cause of your problems. Having diabetes can also affect your sex
You should not feel embarrassed to talk to your GP, practice
nurse or cardiac rehab nurse who will be understanding and can
offer you advice and support. For more information on impotence you
can download our
erectile dysfunction information sheet.
You can get more help and support by ordering:
- Our Angina booklet
- Affairs of
the heart - a guide for Asian communities - translated into
four South Asian languages: Urdu/Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi and
Bengali. Also available in English
Our other DVDs on sex and heart disease are no
longer available because they are out of date, but over the next
year we will be developing a new booklet for patients and their
partners offering further information and support.
Our Heart Helpline cardiac nurses and
heart health advisors are here to provide you with information and
support on anything heart related.