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Sex After Hip Replacement?

Getting back in the saddle—without triggering pain.

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Dear Doctor,

I’m scheduled to have hip replacement surgery next month, and one of the big reasons why I decided to go ahead with it is because of the impact my chronic hip pain is having on my marriage. It’s making it impossible to have sex with my husband. Now I’m starting to wonder about sex post-surgery—how long will I have to wait after my operation and how can I make sure I’m doing it safely while I’m still healing from surgery?

Signed,

“Ready for Action”

Dear Ready for Action:

In my practice, I see plenty of women and men who are motivated to have the surgery for the same reason that you are. If you’re unable to maintain a physical relationship with your significant other, that can become a major point of discord. And when I see these patients after surgery, one of the first questions I hear is, “When can I get back to an intimate relationship?”

Most patients are pretty much ready to resume sexual activities at about four to six weeks post-surgery. At that point, they are usually off all of their pain medications and they are feeling much better.

When you are ready, there are certain positions that are easier and less painful for patients who’ve had hip surgery. In general, the two positions that are the safest for women who’ve had hip replacement surgery are the missionary position (the woman is on the bottom) and a seated position (with the man sitting in a straight chair and the woman sitting on his lap, facing him). You want to avoid positions that involve placing your hip in an extreme range of motion, such as crossing one leg over the other or bringing your knee to your chest. Using pillows to support your body during sex can also ensure that you’re safe and comfortable.

It’s very important that you ease back into an intimate relationship. You want to choose the appropriate time when you’re not mentally stressed about recovering from a major operation. You also want to make sure you keep the lines of communication open with your husband. Some positions will hurt and other positions won’t hurt. Make sure he knows whether you’re comfortable.

And finally, don’t be afraid. The fear of hurting themselves keeps many people who have gone through this surgery from getting back to being intimate with their partner. It’s normal to feel that way, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. There’s no reason why you can’t get back to a normal sexual relationship that is fulfilling for both you and your partner.

“It’s very important that you ease back into an intimate relationship. You want to choose the appropriate time when you’re not mentally stressed about recovering from a major operation.”
Dr. Vijay J. Rasquinha, Orthopedic surgeon
Dr. Vijay J. Rasquinha, orthopedic surgeon | Photo credit: The Well

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Published September 4th, 2018

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