For patients / Lifestyle Modification

Sexual activity

Following a heart attack, heart surgery or any other complication, it is normal to be uncertain or anxious about sexual activity. However having had a heart attack is not a reason to neglect your sexual life.

Can sexual activity trigger a new heart attack?

This is very rare. Contrary to the popular belief, sexual activity is not very demanding for the heart. In terms of efforts, it equals climbing 2 flights of stairs, biking at 15km/h or brisk walking. Do not hesitate to discuss your sexuality with your doctor.

Advice for a safe sexual life…

  • Choose the moment when you are relaxed.

  • Choose a familiar and reassuring venue.

  • Wait 1 to 3 hours after a meal.

  • Avoid sexual intercourse under the influence of drugs, alcohol or in a very hot or cold environment.

  • If you were prescribed medications by your doctor, take them before the sexual intercourse.

  • Consult your doctor if, after sexual intercourse, you have heart palpitations that last 15 minutes or more, extreme fatigue and/or drowsiness all day.


It is possible that following a heart attack, the perception of your body may change. You can use pillows or any other object for support.


Rerkpattanapipat, P., M. S. Stanek, et al. (2001). "Sex and the heart: what is the role of the cardiologist?" Eur Heart J 22(3): 201-208.