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    Is There Sex After Heart Disease?

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    Be Open With Your Doctor. Most patients don't ask outright when they can start having sex. And many doctors don't freely offer that information. This creates an air of mystery or discomfort that helps no one.

    Just because your doctor doesn't bring up sex doesn't means it's off the table. They could have their own hang-ups. For instance, a young doctor counseling an older couple might "see" his parents instead, without being aware of it, Stein says. "The doctors need to be comfortable," he adds.

    A task force is working to help doctors improve their skills when it comes to counseling patients about sex, Michos says. Their guidelines include not only follow-up physicals, but also advice and insights specific to the patient. This could include ideas for sexual positions that might work best for a couple or ways they can be intimate without having intercourse.

    Light the Flame at Home. This isn't the best time to get fancy. At first, it's best to avoid having sex in a different place than you're used to. And if you're not married or in a monogamous relationship, try to stick with the same partner. The reason is simple. Being in a strange place or with a new person adds stress.

    You should also avoid a heavy meal or alcohol before sex. Both can affect blood flow. Having a couple of drinks, or being anxious, "works against" you, Stein says.

    If you think you need drugs to treat erectile dysfunction, ask your doctor. But you also need to be sure not to mix them with nitrate drugs, which are used to treat heart pain. That combo can be deadly.

    Relax. Your chances of having a heart attack during sex are small. Some people are more likely than others to have one in the bedroom, Stein says. "In reality, those are the same people who have the heart attack after a fight with the boss or when going to a game and getting riled up."

    But if you have chest pain or find your heart isn't beating regularly, call your doctor right away and get checked out.

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