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HealthSheets™

Heart Attack: Returning to Sexual Activity

Man and woman hugging.

Ask your health care provider when you can resume sexual activity. In most cases, you can begin about 6 weeks of returning home. When you’re able to climb two flights of stairs or take a vigorous walk without angina, shortness of breath, or irregular heart rate, you’re probably ready.

Helpful hints

  • Know that your risk of having another heart attack during sex is very low.

  • It may take a while before you want sex again. Your interest should return as your body heals.

  • When you’re ready for sex, choose a time when you feel relaxed and rested.

  • Take your time. Give yourself a chance to become aroused.

  • If your health care provider has prescribed nitroglycerine to be taken before sex, be sure to take it as directed.

  • Remember that sex is more than intercourse. Show affection with hugs, caresses, and kisses.

  • Some heart medications can affect sexual arousal. If you have problems, talk to your health care provider.

  • Communicate your concerns with your sexual partner. Feeling supported can make the transition back into a sexual relationship much easier.

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.