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Sex After a Heart Attack

Sex After a Heart Attack: Resuming Your Romantic Life

In the weeks and months after a heart attack, it's normal for patients to have sex less frequently. But when they're ready to resume, they should proceed gradually and without fear, experts say.

"Think of sex as a particularly enjoyable workout," Sotile writes in his book, "Thriving with Heart Disease."

He advises heart attack patients to pace themselves and ease back into sexual activity. It's also best to try to have sex only when patients feel rested and relaxed.

Experts also recommend waiting from one to three hours after eating a meal to allow for digestion.

Regular exercise helps, too. "We encourage people with heart problems to get in the best shape of their lives," Thomas says. When people become more fit, their hearts are better able to handle the demands of physical activity, including sex.

Sex After a Heart Attack: Remember the Relationship

"Don't forget the relationship aspect of it," Sotile says. "To the extent that your relationship is comfortable, you will be relaxed and you will much more likely be able to function sexually.

"Heart disease gives you a second chance. Most of us in long-term relationships could use some do-overs," he adds. "I encourage people to respond to the wake-up call that heart disease delivers to make your life better."

Many heart attack survivors have told Sotile that they've become more "caring, loving and patient" after their heart attacks.

"If you take that same set of attitudes into the bedroom, your sex life can be better than it was," he says.

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Reviewed on February 14, 2007

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