When Can I Resume Sexual Activity After Surgery?

This is one of the most common questions asked during a preoperative consultation. Sometimes, it is the patient asking, sometimes the spouse. So, when can you resume normal sexual activities after plastic surgery? There may not be a straightforward answer. It depends on the nature of the surgical procedure, your particular recovery process, the amount of discomfort you are in, the degree and location of bandages or drains, and if you feel ready for it.

Exercise Restrictions After Plastic Surgery (Yes, Sex is Exercise)

After any surgical procedure, there will be activity restrictions. All patients have to protect their surgical sites to avoid bleeding, swelling, wound separation, or irritation. Some patients may need to keep their bodies in certain positions. For example, after a tummy tuck, a hips-flexed posture needs to be maintained for one to two weeks; for breast surgery, patients need to sleep on their backs with arms near sides for two to three weeks. Exercise should be avoided for at least three to four weeks, as increases in heart rate and blood pressure can increase risks for bleeding and swelling.

Pressure, shear, or tension forces can be detrimental to healing incisions. Many patients after breast augmentation, in particular, feel so much better about themselves soon after surgery and want to get intimate sooner rather than later. Some patients have been known to open up their incisions by jumping into sex too soon after surgery. If this does happen, be sure to contact your plastic surgeon immediately to potentially save the implant. When your doctor recommends remaining sexually inactive during a period of time after surgery, it’s to make sure you heal fully and without issues. Not only that, but a second trip to the operating room is a costly endeavor that you are responsible for.

Post-Operative Turn-Offs

Some patients will need to wear special bras or compression garments following their procedure. While most patients don’t feel sexy in surgical support garments, they’re necessary for proper recovery.

Pain is also a turn-off for most people. Sex isn’t that much fun if you are in pain or out of it from pain pills. Nausea associated with medication also makes for a bad sexual experience. In general, it’s strongly recommended to avoid sex until you are not in any pain. Listen to your body and use common sense. If something hurts, don’t do it.

When Can I Have Sex After ______ Surgery?

The time you will need to wait will be longer for more involved operations. For instance, if you had joint breast surgery and tummy tuck (such as in a mommy makeover), you may want to wait four to six weeks. Everyone’s surgery is unique, so your recovery period could be different from someone else’s. It’s always important to follow your doctor’s advice.

Abdominal Surgery

Procedures involving the abdominal area, such as a full tummy tuck or abdominal liposuction, might have longer recovery times. Patients should typically wait four to six weeks before considering resuming sexual activity. Your specific surgery will determine how long you should wait.

Tummy Tuck

tummy tuck involves more extensive tissue removal and muscle tightening. The recovery period is longer and typically ranges from two to four weeks before you can return to normal activities such as sexual intercourse.


Liposuction is a popular choice for sculpting and contouring the body. It may be a minimally invasive procedure, but it’s crucial to allow the body time to heal properly. Patients can generally resume light activities within a week, but it’s advisable to wait two to three weeks before engaging in sexual activities.

Breast Reduction

breast reduction is done to alleviate physical discomfort caused by overly large breasts. You can usually resume light activities within a week, but it’s recommended to wait at least two to four weeks before engaging in any sexual activity.

Resume Sex When You’re Physically (and Mentally) Ready

The key to resuming sex is to use common sense. In many cases, you may need to be somewhat inventive with positioning to enjoy sex. Having someone’s body weight on an area that is healing is not a good idea. But, if you can position yourselves to prevent this, you may be able to proceed without harm. Listen to your body. If nothing is hurting, it is probably okay. Start slow and be careful.

Another consideration is that many of our patients stop birth control pills or hormones before elective surgical procedures that involve general anesthesia. So be careful. An unintended pregnancy during the perioperative period would be a big surprise and something you hadn’t considered when planning your surgery.

In addition to your plastic surgeon’s recommendation, the most important consideration is when you, as the patient, feel ready for this, both mentally and physically. Be patient with yourself. Many patients, after surgery, experience dramatic improvements in self-confidence and self-esteem and are ready to get out there and show off. They find that physical closeness is comforting and makes them feel great. Others take longer to feel prepared, and they want to be left alone for a period of time as they recover. Some individuals are in doubt about how they feel about themselves due to persistent swelling, scars, or changes occurring on their bodies. The key here is to be honest with your partner and work through this together. Understanding and reassurance can go a long way.

The bottom line is that you invested a lot of time, money, and even some discomfort when going through plastic surgery. It is crucial that you follow all post-operative activity restrictions for an uncomplicated recovery and success in your results. The first three weeks after surgery may be the riskiest, so be careful during this time frame. If in doubt, ask your plastic surgeon.

Contact Our Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon Today

Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Hayley Brown has owned and operated Desert Hills Plastic Surgery Center for 20 years. As a female plastic surgeon, she’s intimately familiar with the needs and concerns that women experience around plastic surgery. Dr. Brown and her team will be with you every step of the way, from your initial consultation through your surgery and recovery as you start to resume your routine.

Dr. Brown serves Henderson, Las Vegas, and nearby areas of Nevada. Call 702-664-6684 today to schedule a consultation.

Dr. Hayley Brown MD, FACS
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Desert Hills Plastic Surgery Center, Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada

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