heart attack afterAfter a heart attack, it can feel like everything is different.

Your diet, your activity level…your sex life…

Heart attacks tend to have emotional consequences, not just physical ones.

Even once your doctor has cleared you for physical activity after a heart attack, you may still be nervous about having sex.

That’s okay. In fact, it’s understandable. The bedroom is the last place you want to have another heart attack!

The good news is that less than 1% of all heart attacks take place during sex, so once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, you’re no more likely to have a heart attack in that moment than anyone else.

Getting Your Head Around Your Heart

If you’re still nervous about having sex after a heart attack, maybe it’s time to think about things a little differently.

Remember that all physical activity is good for your heart.

Exercise is one of the key components to a healthy cardiovascular system. And, sex absolutely counts as physical activity – which means it’s contributing to a healthy heart, rather than endangering it.

Unfortunately, many people put off having sex after something like this longer than they need to.

If you want a specific guideline that you can measure yourself, even after the doctor has cleared you, ask yourself these two questions:

1. Can you walk a quarter mile comfortably? Not fast, not speed walking, and certainly not running. Just stroll for a quarter mile.

2. Can you climb two flights of stairs without stopping to catch your breath? Again, not jog up them. Not power walk. Just get from the bottom to the top without having to stop.

If you answered yes to those two questions, you can feel better about your doctor’s clearance.

If you’ve personally met those two guidelines, then he’s right – you’re ready to resume your sex life.

Another new thing to think about may be the actual act of having sex. You may have to change things up a bit – but that doesn’t mean your sex life won’t be as satisfying!

Be open to new positions. You may not be able to lie on your back for a while because of the risk of fluid in your lungs.

You may need to adjust while your incision site heals. In the big picture, though, these things are minor adjustments.

And feel free to ask your partner to take a more active role in love making if necessary. Who knows – you might discover you both enjoy it!

And don’t be surprised if you feel differently about sex post heart attack. You’ve just been through a serious medical event.

Heart attacks tend to make people feel vulnerable, more grateful than they were before. This relief and gratitude often shows up in a feeling of greater intimacy with one’s partner.

Addressing the Emotional Toll

That being said, sometime the same emotional reaction that can cause people to embrace sex again can also cause people to have performance issues.

Sometimes, you may not feel in the mood. Sometimes, you may have problems with arousal, even if you are feeling intimate.

Just like there are physical steps you can take to revitalize your sex life after a heart attack, there are steps you can take to help with the emotional responses, as well.

1. Relax. There are plenty of ways to enjoy physical intimacy without the pressure of sexual performance. Don’t focus so much on achieving orgasm. Do focus on enjoying the way touching and being touched feels.

2. Trust your partner. Whoever you’re in bed with – if it’s your spouse for the last 30 years, or a new relationship – this person finds you attractive. As ugly as a scar might seem to you, by the time you’re at this point, your partner isn’t looking at the scar.

3. Talk to your doctor about supplements. There’s no shame in needing a little extra help in the bedroom, especially after having a heart attack! And with so many performance supplements available, there’s no reason not to give one a try. Even the day to day can be a little scary after a heart attack. But sex is an important part of living a full life, so don’t give it up just because of a heart attack.

Talk to your doctor. Trust what he says. And enjoy every moment – especially the intimate ones – after your heart attack.