Significant weight loss from recent surgery – okay to resume sexual activity?

Hi Alice,

I recently had surgery and lost a fair amount of weight, and now I am underweight. I have an active sexual life. Now, since the surgery, I have as strong a sexual desire as before, although I am a little reluctant to be sexually active, fearing it might not be healthy and harmful to my under-weight body. I need your insight to answer the following questions: 1. Is being sexually active while struggling to gain weight a bad idea? 2. If not, is it still all right to ejaculate two or three times in a row, given my physical situation?

Waiting for your answer


Dear Waiting for your answer,

Though your concern over your post-surgery recovery is wise, just because you're currently in the bantamweight category doesn't mean you can't enter the ring. However, it may not be your weight so much as the healing your body is going through that may make you want to consider delaying sexual activity. Depending on your surgery, your health care provider may be able to give you specifics about how soon it is safe to resume intercourse. Luckily, there is more to sex and intimacy than intercourse and you may find that a little creativity may help you bide your time until you and your body are fully recovered.

If you are concerned about the toll a romp in the hay may take on your body, consider getting your kicks in a different way that may be less physically demanding. Try mutual masturbation, phone sex, sexting, or sensual kissing, touching, or caressing in the body's various erogenous zones (check out the Related Q&As below for specific suggestions). On the other hand, if your weight loss is the result of heart surgery, it's a good idea to keep things low-key in the sack for the first six to eight weeks post-operation. The amount of energy (and thus stress on the heart) exerted during a typical coital encounter is equivalent to a brisk half mile walk or a one to two flight stair climb, so if you are unable to do that without getting tired or short of breath, take it easy in the bedroom. Keep your comfort in mind, too, and experiment with positions that limit pressure and tension in any areas affected by the surgery (i.e., the chest for heart surgery patients). When you feel up to it, return to sexual activity gradually and make sure you are rested and comfortable during each rendezvous. Openly communicating with your partner(s) and maintaining realistic expectations for your recovery may help you during this time.

Again, the answer to your question really depends on the type and extent of the surgery you've undergone. If your surgery affected any of your sexual organs or occurred in the pelvic area, take precaution and understand that your body needs time to heal. Listen to what your body needs and how it reacts to arousal. Sex should feel good so if it doesn't or you feel any pain or discomfort after sexual activity, this is a sign that your body may need more time to get back to normal. It would be a good idea to talk directly to your surgeon or another health care provider about precautions you should take specific to your surgery, age, and any other potential risk factors you may encounter. 

Overall, it is likely as you increase your weight class and your body fully recovers, sexual activity will get back to normal. Just make sure that you're not hopping into the ring before your body is completely ready.

Last updated Mar 20, 2015
Originally published May 01, 1994

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