Senior Couple Relaxing On Bed?>
Ask the Experts

Is Sex Safe After a Heart Attack?

by Paula Spencer Scott  

Q: Is it safe to have sex after a heart attack?

A: It’s almost always okay to have sex after a heart attack once you’ve stabilized and have no symptoms doing other physical activities, such as climbing stairs, golfing, or unloading groceries. In fact, the American Heart Association’s scientific statement on cardiovascular disease and sexual activity calls the risk “miniscule.” Compare that to the improved quality of life that a healthy sexual relationship often brings.

Sex is considered to be about as strenuous on your cardiovascular system as walking two flights of stairs. Coital angina, or angina d’amour, that occurs shortly after sex represents less than 5 percent of angina attacks. It generally only happens to sedentary people who experience angina with minimal activity. If you can do one without chest pain or other heart symptoms, you can generally do the other.

Realize, though, that wariness and worry after a heart attack can interfere with arousal, even though the body is able. You’ll feel more confident if you follow standard recovery advice. Complete a supervised cardiac rehabilitation program; most insurance programs and Medicare cover them. Being physically active will improve your physical and mental recovery. Be sure to take prescribed medications, too. Don’t be shy about discussing this important part of life with your doctor. A stress test can confirm any lingering concerns about whether your body is ready.

See also: 7 Keys to a Long Sex Life.