Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Resuming Sexual Activity After a Heart Attack

Resuming Sexual Activity After a Heart Attack

Overview

When can I have sex again?

Sex is part of a healthy life and part of your quality of life. It is safe for most people after they have had a heart attack.

After a heart attack, you can resume sexual activity when you are healthy and feel ready for it. You could be ready if you can do mild or moderate activity, like brisk walking, without having angina symptoms. Your doctor might tell you that if you can climb two flights of stairs without having any symptoms, you are healthy enough for sex. Or your doctor might want to do an exercise electrocardiogram to check the health of your heart before you have sex again.

Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns.

If you had an angioplasty, you'll wait until your incisions heal. If you had a bypass surgery, you'll wait a few weeks to let your chest heal.

What if I'm worried about resuming sex?

Some people are afraid to resume sexual activity after a heart attack. They are worried that they will have symptoms such as chest pain or will not have enough energy for sex. They also worry about having another heart attack.

The risk of having a heart attack during sex is low. Sex is the cause of less than 1 out of 100 heart attacks.footnote 1 This risk is low if you can do moderate activity without having angina symptoms such as chest pain or pressure.

Ask your doctor about your risk. He or she can help you know when your heart is healthy enough for the level of activity involved in sex.

Tips for resuming sex

Consider resuming sex gradually. You can start with ways of being intimate that are easy on your heart, like kissing and caressing. When you and your partner decide to start having sexual intercourse again, it might be helpful to keep in mind the following:

  • Talk honestly to your partner about your concerns and feelings. Your partner may have the same worries that you have.
  • Choose a time when you are relaxed and comfortable in a place that will be free from interruptions.
  • Wait 1 to 3 hours after eating a full meal so that digestion can take place.
  • Be aware that anxiety on the part of either partner may interfere with sexual arousal and performance.
  • Stop and rest if you have any angina symptoms. Call 911 if your symptoms do not go away with rest or are not getting better within 5 minutes after you take a dose of nitroglycerin.
  • Tell your doctor if you have angina symptoms during sex.

Sexual problems

For both men and women, a heart problem can cause physical changes that lead to sexual problems. For example, some people have less interest in sex. Men may have erectile dysfunction. Women may have symptoms like vaginal dryness.

If you are having sexual problems, talk with your doctor about what treatments are right for you. Treatments may include counseling or medicine.

Talk with your doctor before trying an erection-enhancing medicine. Some medicines for erection problems can cause serious problems if you also use a nitrate medicine, such as nitroglycerin.

Get help for problems

Tell your doctor about any concerns you have. Counseling might be an option for you and your partner. A doctor, nurse, or other health professional might provide this counseling. It may include information and advice on how to resume sex. It may include support or advice on how to relieve anxiety, worry, or fear about sex. It may include treatment for physical problems. The goal is to enjoy sex again.

References

References

Citations

  1. Levine GN, et al. (2012). Sexual activity and cardiovascular disease: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 125(8): 1058–1072.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Sex and Your Heart Heart Attack and Unstable Angina

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details