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To Have Sex or Not to Have Sex (After Heart Attack): That is the Question!

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The good news is that you survived a heart attack and missed that early (unscheduled and unwelcome) appointment with the grim reaper. You cheated death and you are flying high! You’ve been through cardiac rehab, the doctor has given you a clean bill of health and you’re ready to jump back into this amazing gift of life with both feet. After your heart attack scare, you are savoring every moment and life is three kinds of sweet. The sun shines just a little brighter, the flowers a little more fragrant than before and that big old harvest moon…. Ahhh, muy romantico!!! The only problem is that you and your main squeeze are sitting in separate chairs on opposite sides of the room watching Lucy reruns on TV instead of dancing in the moonlight and “spooning.”

Now, ladies, why is that? Personally, I think that being with your significant other – holding one another – cuddling – and yes, having sex – is one of the greatest gifts and pleasures in life. When everything else in life is so sweet, why would you deny yourself the pleasure of physical intimacy with your loved one after a heart attack?

It seems that there is a myth floating around (and yes, it is a myth) that most of us have bought into which says that having sex after a heart attack will cause you to have a subsequent heart attack – and no one wants to do anything to cause a second (or third or fourth) heart attack! The myth that sex is bad for heart attack patients is pretty widely accepted as truth (guess no one has been checking Snopes!) because according to researchers at the University of Chicago, more than 60 percent of all women and a third of all men avoid sex for at least a full year following a heart attack. That is a long time!

This heart attack-sex-avoidance myth has probably been fostered by movies and television shows (or perhaps one of those steamy little Sunday afternoon romance novels). After all, most of us have watched movies where the couples were engaged in awe-inspiring, mind-blowing-once-in-a-lifetime sex only to have one partner (usually the man – sorry guys) suddenly drop dead from a heart attack.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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