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Sex After Plastic Surgery- Glad You Asked

Before you read any further, let me tell you that this post is PG rated at the very least. This will either set you at ease or disappoint you. In either case, read on!

Sex after plastic surgeryFrom time to time during my post-operative consultations, a patient or spouse will ask me when they can resume normal sexual activity. Sometimes I am asked this before surgery. And if there is any surprise in this, it would be that I am not asked this more often. However, I am always gratified when a patient, or a couple will be honest enough about their concerns to ask what might be considered by some an embarrassing question.

So, when can you resume normal sexual activities after plastic surgery? This is not a question you will find an answer to in a text book. But, the answer in many cases would be sooner than you think. It really depends upon a couple of things: the surgery you have had, how much discomfort you are in, and when you as the patient feel ready for this.

Few people will be ready for sexual activity the day after surgery. And if there are drains involved, or special positioning after surgery is indicated, this probably is not the right time for physical romance. The time you will need to wait will be longer for more involved operations. For instance, you may want to wait several weeks after a tummy tuck, but probably not as long after breast enlargement.  In fact, women who have had breast enlargement may feel much better about themselves in bed and want to get back into the saddle sooner.

Pain can be a real turn off. If you’re hurting, or needing narcotic pain medication, making love to your partner may not feel too good. And, after all, you want to enjoy your sexual activity. So, wait until you’re not hurting. In many cases you may need to be somewhat inventive with positioning to enjoy sex.  Having someone’s body weight on an area that is healing may be uncomfortable.  But, if you can position yourselves to prevent this, all systems may be go.

Perhaps the most important consideration is when you, as the patient, feel ready for this.  You are the only one who can determine this.  At times this may call for patience.  At other times, you may find physical closeness (even if it does not involve sex) is comforting and something that really makes you feel better. On the other hand if you are completely healed, and you are in doubt about how you feel about yourself due to scars, or changes in your body, be honest with you lover and work through this together.  Understanding and reassurances can go a long way here. And once you have taken the plunge — so to speak, you may feel much better about some of these concerns.

There is no right or wrong answer to the question of when to resume sexual activity after plastic surgery.  Many people are thrilled with the appearance of their body and want to get back at it pronto.  Others take longer to feel ready.  But common sense will often rule the day: if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.  But the most important thing to remember is that you can always ask your plastic surgeon.  He or she probably enjoys sex as much as you do, and will be very understanding of  your concerns.  Like I said, I welcome this question, because it shows me how honest and healthy my patient is.

All the best,

Dr. David B. Reath

David B. Reath, MD

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