The joy of sex: new guidelines for heart attack and stroke victims


Heart attack and stroke victims afraid of having sex for fear of overdoing it should be given counselling by doctors to help them return to a healthy sex life, according to researchers.

Patients should be routinely assessed to ensure they are “healthy enough to resume sexual activities” and doctors should also discuss with them how to be intimate without having sexual intercourse, when to resume sexual activity, and suggested positions.

The new recommendations, published in the European Heart Journal and the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation on Monday, are the first scientifically-based detailed guidance on this issue.

But while sleeping with your partner may be recommended, choosing to embark on a passionate affair could be dangerous. “Sex in familiar surroundings, in a comfortable room temperature, and with the usual partner adds less stress to the heart. Sexual activity with an extramarital partner could pose a health risk for those with cardiac disease,” warns the guidance.

It assures people that “the relative risk of a cardiac event with sexual activity is low”. Lead author Professor Elaine Steinke, an expert in cardiovascular nursing from Wichita State University in the US, said: “Starting a conversation about sex can be easily included in patient discussions, particularly when discussing sex as part of recommendations for exercise.”