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Sex and Heart Disease

There is some misinformation out there when it comes to sex and heart disease. Some of it involves wishful thinking (ie: sex prevents heart disease), and some of it is fear based (you’re more likely to die of a heart attack during sex). If you are recovering from a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack, or have been recently diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, there are guidelines and advice you should consider but that doesn’t mean your sex life won’t return to normal soon enough.

Heart disease doesn’t just affect men and women in advanced age, it can affect men and women at any age, whether by genetic inheritance or the result of negative lifestyle choices such as smoking. So we’re considering a broad group of men and women.

Here’s To the Age-Old Question: Is Sex Good for Your Heart?

While there’s no definitive answer to prove that sex prevents heart disease, studies show it is part of an overall heart-healthy lifestyle. If you’re having more sex, there’s a good chance you are fitter and more active to begin with. Happy people are more likely to exercise, see their doctor and maintain healthy relationships, which all contribute to overall good health.

One study found that men who had sex twice a week or more were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who had sex once a month or less. (Research like this typically focuses on men.)

Once you’ve been released by your doctor, sex is generally safe. Your blood pressure will go up during sex, peaking around 160/90. For perspective, that is comparable to what happens during a short run, and it goes back down afterward. Despite many Hollywood depictions, dying as a result of the exertion of sex is very rare.

When You’re Ready to Resume Your Sex Life After a Cardiac Event

  • Before resuming sexual activity, consult your doctor.
  • Keep up your physical therapy as prescribed as it will reduce the risk of complications related to sexual activity. (Could be an incentive.)
  • Birth control can cause an increase in blood clotting, which could actually cause a heart attack so always consult with your doctor about the right birth control, especially of you suffer from any type of heart health issue.
  • Some heart medications will affect erectile function, but do not discontinue use before seeing your doctor.
  • Erectile medications must be used under the guidance of a doctor familiar with your heart issues.
  • If you’re a post-menopausal woman with cardiovascular disease, estrogen that’s topically or vaginally inserted for the treatment of painful intercourse is deemed generally safe.

In short: sex DOES benefit your overall health and is part of a healthy lifestyle. It can help you feel less stressed, which is absolutely good for your heart.