Post Hysterectomy Intimacy
SHARING IS CARING
Resuming Intimacy After Hysterectomy
After your doctor releases you to resume intercourse, you may feel excited and enthused to do so, or nervous and scared. No matter which group you fall into, you aren’t alone. Women experience a variety of emotions connected to this segment of their post-op “return to normal life.”
Some women find that in the weeks following surgery they are consumed with a new or increased sexual desire. This increase in libido can be brought on by the sudden hormone changes in your body. If you kept your ovaries, libido may depend on how well the ovaries are working. If you had your ovaries removed, you could have stored hormones in your tissues until they are played out. After that, your hormone therapy will have much to do with your libido. It is a very nice surprise, especially if libido had been lacking pre-hyst, but don’t be surprised if it fades as quickly as it came.
How to Talk To Your Doctor About Sex
Most women are hesitant to talk to their doctor about sex and resuming intercourse. Asking your doctor ahead of time what to expect, and what to do if you run into problems (pain or bleeding) might help to calm your fears about resuming sexual activity. Don’t let embarrassment stop you; the risks of not talking about your concerns far outweigh the uneasiness you might feel.
There are some things you can do ahead of time to make this discussion with your doctor easier:
- Make a list of your concerns. Write them as questions and make them as brief as possible.
- Talk to trusted friends who respect your privacy and share common concerns may help you get an idea how others feel and what their experiences have been. Do this only if you are comfortable with the idea.
- If you have specific areas of concern, do some research ahead of time. You’ll have a better understanding, and can start the conversation sharing what you have learned, and ask for your doctor's opinion or more information.
Getting started on a sex discussion with your doctor can be hard because you may feel rushed, or there may not be an obvious opening to talk about sex. Don’t be intimidated! If you have your questions ready you can get through it quickly and you will have peace of mind when you leave the office. Also keep in mind your doctor could possibly be uncomfortable too. Doctors, like anyone else, could feel awkward talking to you about sex. If you anticipate this possibility, you will be less likely to be thrown off if it happens.
Waiting for Doctor's Clearance
It’s very important that you wait until you have your doctor’s clearance to resume intercourse. This is usually given about six weeks after surgery. Some women won’t heal sufficiently to have sex safely at this point & the doctor may prescribe a longer period of restriction. Tissue that isn’t sufficiently healed can tear or become infected, which could lead to complications requiring further treatment. This is why absolutely nothing should be placed in the vagina (douche, vibrator, fingers or other body parts) until you have been released by your doctor. Anal sex is also on the list of restrictions, since your pelvic area needs to rest & recover. Ultimately, the 6 weeks no-sex rule is a very small timeframe in the big scheme of things. You deserve to have a smooth & uncomplicated recovery!
Some women have no partner, or are anxious to be certain everything is working properly before they are released for sexual intercourse. Many women want to know if it is safe before they are cleared by the doctor (as long as there is nothing inserted in the vagina).
It is recommended that women speak to their doctors before they resume any kind of sexual activity. An orgasm causes increased blood flow to the healing tissues or spasms that could cause damage depending on what type of surgery you had and how well you are healing at the time. Doctors' opinions differ on this, and it is always best to check with your own doctor to make sure it is safe for you.
Outercourse refers to sexual activity that doesn’t involve anything being inserted in the vagina. Some women are comfortable with using a vibrator to stimulate themselves to orgasm. Other women desire the closeness with their partners. As long as there is no penetration and your doctor says ok, manual stimulation can be safely done.
Being Emotionally Ready to Resume Intercourse
Once you are released by your doctor for sexual activity, it’s important to be emotionally ready. Just because the doctor says you can doesn’t mean you are emotionally ready. It’s important to recognize all aspects of this surgery & recovery. Because the reproductive organs are affected, there can be a wide range of thoughts and feelings associated with resuming intimacy once you have been cleared by your doctor. It’s ok and even smart to acknowledge your fears and to share them with your partner. It will be much easier for both if you have open and honest communication. Your husband or partner might be fearful of hurting you and/or have other fears to discuss. Love and respect on both sides will make this big step in your recovery one that both of you can be comfortable with.
Lubricant and Where to Get It
Many women choose to use personal lubricant to assist in their initial post-op sexual activities. Lubricants are available online, or anywhere that feminine products are sold, usually displayed in the same aisle as condoms. Popular brands include Astroglide, KY Jelly, and available in the HysterSisters Store: Very Private Daily Intimate Moisture. Ordering online is convenient and confidential.
Recommended by HysterSisters
For Post Hysterectomy Intimacy
The HysterSisters Store has gathered products made specifically for managing menopause. Here are the best sellers we can recommend to help you:
- Chillow Personal Cooling Device - With the Chillow® in or on your pillow, you have a wonderfully cool spot to lay your head. That coolness allows you to relax, fall asleep faster, and stay cool for hours. The Chillow® absorbs the extra heat and releases it to the surrounding air.
- Soakool - Cooling Scarf - Our Cooling Scarf provides immediate relief from hot flashes, girls! Great for wearing while exercising, for reducing fever, relieving headaches and minor sunburns too! Non-toxic cooling crystals are the secret!
- Very Private Intimate Moisture - Relieves vaginal dryness instantly, protects tissue & enhances intimacy. "Buy it for the problem, use it for the pleasure."
- Find more great products in the HysterSisters.com Store!
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Intercourse After Doctor's Clearance
It’s a good idea to have personal lubricant on hand, even if you haven’t needed it in the past. The pelvic area could be tender and the extra moisture can help reduce stress on those tissues. Remember that your body is still recovering and it might be a good idea for you to be in control of the action; many women report that being in a sexual position on top gives them better control. Plan to take it slowly and gently on those first attempts. You may find you will have some soreness afterwards, but some women do great with no problems. With practice and patience, most women return to a very satisfying sexual experience. Those who had pain prior to hyst often find that post-op sex is much better than they have experienced in a long time.
Vaginal Length & Well Endowed Partners
The average vagina is about 3 inches long, and will relax and elongate with sexual arousal. A hysterectomy may shorten the vagina slightly, but remember: the vagina is elastic enough to hold a tampon or pass a baby, so there should be no post-op size issues even with a well-endowed partner.
There are differing opinions on being on the receiving end of oral sex as an early post-op patient. The universal rule of nothing in vagina still applies, and with oral sex, there is the danger of introducing bacteria into the vagina that could cause infection. Please check with your doctor if you have any concerns about this during your early post-op weeks.
The “g spot” is not a medically-recognized term for any part of the female anatomy, but the term has taken hold in the general public, and many women talk about there being an area that is particularly sensitive that provides intense sexual excitement through stimulation. Medical researchers are left to debate what this subjective experience that many women have is, what the origin of the excitement is, and where it fits into the larger picture of female sexual anatomy and health.
All women have a g spot, but not all women notice anything different when it is stimulated, and some actually dislike the sensation. So, don't be discouraged if you can't find your own; there is nothing wrong with you, and what turns us all on is incredibly individual and unique.
The G spot is located in the front or anterior wall of the vagina, and if your hyst includes anterior or posterior repair, some cutting may be done nearby. The g spot can be located by inserting a finger, palm side up, and making a "come hither" motion with the finger.
This is for information only and not endorsement for anything to be inserted into the vagina without clearance by your personal physician.
Female Sexual Dysfuntion
Sexual dysfunction within the HysterSisters community is observed as a post-op experience, usually many months post-op. It is also noteworthy that experiencing FSD is a surprise to the woman who has experienced a hysterectomy and who was previously enjoying a satisfying sexual relationship with her husband of many years.
Whether a HysterSister is in her 20's or her 60's, the report of distress over sexual dysfunction spans the age brackets. Researchers tell us that about 50% women surveyed feel that a satisfying sexual relationship is important to their quality of life. Distress is reported by those HysterSisters whose Female Sexual Dysfunction has interrupted that enjoyment.
Read More About Female Sexual Dysfunction following hysterectomy.
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More Intimacy Resources
Check out these resources to help you prepare for surgery. Don't forget our best resource - our pre-op discussion forum where thousands of HysterSisters participate daily! AND - Don't forget to ask your doctor for additional resources.
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