Freedom from pain can restore intimacy
Surprising Benefit of Hip Replacement: A Better Sex Life
For people in need of hip replacement, sex can be extremely painful. The good news is that once the joint is replaced, you can resume having sex within six to eight weeks – and it’s often better than it’s been for years.
If you’ve been putting off a hip replacement, a surprising benefit may make it a little more attractive: this procedure can significantly improve your sex life.
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“Hip replacement is one of the most rewarding procedures to have done,” says orthopaedic surgeon Robert Nickodem, Jr., MD. “People have a lot of pain before the procedure, and sometimes the hip is almost frozen. Sex could hurt, and the idea of it might not be very exciting.”
Every patient is different, so if you’re considering a hip replacement, talk with your doctor about when you can resume normal activities. Dr. Nickodem usually tells his patients they can do whatever they want within six to eight weeks.
Freedom to move
“Hip replacement usually goes so well that there are no limitations. After six to eight weeks — as long as the wound is healed — I give patients carte blanche to gradually start to bike, jog, swim or do whatever is comfortable,” Dr. Nickodem says. “So by about six weeks, most people are good to go.”
There are certain positions and movements that people who’ve had hip replacements should avoid for the first six to eight weeks because of the risk that they could dislocate the replaced hip.
For example, if you’ve recently had a hip replacement, you should not raise your knee past hip level, and you should not move your knee across the midpoint of your body. Rotating your knee out and away from your body is fine, as long as it is comfortable.
“I have never had a patient dislocate a hip from having sex following a hip replacement,” Dr. Nickodem says. “No one has complained of problems. As long as people are careful about rotating the knee inward, they should be fine.”
Sex after hip replacement
Here is Dr. Nickodem’s advice for sexual intimacy for patients who have had a hip replacement:
1. Stretch and/or take a mild pain medication ahead of time. Take something mild 20 minutes to 30 minutes beforehand. This can help loosen your muscles before having sex. But be sure not to take anything so strong that it will mask pain, which could indicate a problem.
2. Support your hip joint. Use pillows or rolled towels to support your feet, legs or knees, which can help keep your hip joint within a safe range of motion. If you lie on your side, keep the side with the repaired joint on the bottom.
3. Move slowly. Be careful about the amount and speed of movement during sex, and warn your partner not to put his or her whole body weight on your hips.
You might have to try a few different positions to find one that is comfortable, but once you and your partner get it figured out, you might find your sex life is more enjoyable than it’s been in years.