Continuing or resuming your sex life can be an important part of recovery, but there may be some physical and emotional issues that need to be considered.
A common fear is that sex might cause another stroke or heart attack but this is very unlikely. If you are worried, however, you should speak to your doctor.
Disabilities such as weakness or paralysis of limbs, or fatigue and breathlessness, may cause some problems. These can usually be overcome by talking to your partner and experimenting.
Some medications can also interfere with your sex life. Discuss any side effects with your doctor. He or she may be able to resolve the problem.
Having a long–term health condition often affects the way you see yourself or how you believe your partner will see you. This can result in a loss of self–confidence, lowered self–esteem and lack of interest in sex. The change in your relationship from being partners to becoming ‘patient’ and ‘carer’ can also affect the way you see each other. The first step in dealing with any sexual problems is to talk about them with your partner. It may also be useful to speak to a relationship counsellor such as Relate.
When you are ready to resume your sexual relationship, think about the following
- Avoid sexual activity immediately after a heavy meal, after consuming alcohol, in an uncomfortable room temperature or when under emotional stress. All of these factors will only increase fatigue.
- Choose sexual positions that are less energy consuming
- Have your partner take a more active role so that you feel less fatigued or anxious.
- If you use inhalers or GTN spray, keep them where you can reach them if needed.
It is also important to remember that simply being close to someone helps a person feel loved and special.