Good Vibrations: Post-Surgery Sex Solutions

It’s pretty typical for women to be told after a hysterectomy to refrain from sex for 6 weeks or more. But for couples that enjoy and miss the physical side of their relationship, it’s nice to know that restricting sex is really about avoiding intercourse, and doesn’t have to be about avoiding intimacy or orgasms.

Posted on | Lauren Streicher, MD | Comments ()

It’s pretty typical for women to be told after a hysterectomy to refrain from sex for 6 weeks or more. But for couples that enjoy and miss the physical side of their relationship, it’s nice to know that restricting sex is really about avoiding intercourse, and doesn’t have to be about avoiding intimacy or orgasms. 

Why the wait?

Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus and often the cervix. If the cervix is removed, the top of the vagina has a row of dissolvable stitches. Intercourse the day after surgery would have catastrophic results. Until your gynecologist informs you that healing is complete, the vagina is a no-fly zone. Even if your cervix was not removed, vaginal thrusting could disrupt healing tissue in the pelvis and potentially cause internal bleeding, which is why it’s best to refrain from intercourse for at least 4 week to 6 weeks.

When your doctor says no sex for 6 weeks, what he or she usually means is no intercourse for 6 weeks. Once you feel up to it, there are no restrictions on kissing, hugging, massaging, fondling or stimulation of external genitalia. Never underestimate the value of foreplay.  High school is not the only time that caressing and other erotic play are satisfying without being simply a prelude to intercourse. Couples often find that eliminating the “goal” of intercourse actually results in greater intimacy and ability to explore new options.

After a few weeks, orgasms are fine. But if nothing goes in the vagina, how are those orgasms going to happen? If the only thing you own that vibrates is your cell phone, it’s time to go shopping!

Send toys, not flowers!

Sex toys are not just for lonely deviants. While they can be used alone, a vibrator is the perfect way for couples to solve the sex-after-surgery dilemma.

Even if you never used a vibrator before, it is worth considering not only when you are healing from surgery, but once you have completely recovered as well. Toys to be inserted vaginally should not be used until you have been given the go ahead for intercourse, but external vibrators, dildos and erotica are a world that may open up when you realize that intercourse is temporarily not possible or desired. This is especially important after hysterectomy, the perfect time to re-explore your sexuality. The elimination of painful, heavy periods and uncomfortable intercourse allows you to move ahead to a new chapter in your life and realize the pleasure potential of your body. In short, it’s the perfect time to have a sexual reawakening. 

So where do you get these toys?  No, you don’t have to go to a questionable neighborhood wearing dark glasses and a wig. Most major cities have perfectly respectable erotica stores intended for women to go and comfortably shop. The staff is usually expert at making a vibrator novice feel comfortable. If you don’t live in a big city, or are on the shy side, there are some terrific web sites where you can shop without wearing a disguise. Your mailman will never know what's inside that plain brown wrapper ...

Blog written by Lauren Streicher, MD
Dr. Lauren Streicher is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University’s medical...