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Sexual Relationships

It is normal for anyone who has had a stroke to feel anxious about sex.  Many people are afraid that having intimate relations may lead to another stroke or a heart attack.

However, there are no medical reasons for limiting intimate relations after a stroke. 

Although some tablets such as tranquillisers, high blood pressure medicines and sleeping pills can sometimes reduce your ability and mood for intimacy, it is usually possible to change your medicines so that you don't get these effects.  Ask your doctor or practice nurse if you have this problem.  Remember – they can't help if you don't let them know you have a problem.

The body's disabilities shouldn't be a barrier to intimate relations.  Most people develop their own ways of overcoming problems, but if you have any doubts about how to address the issue, ask your GP or practice nurse for advice and if required they can direct you to a specialist.

Sometimes tiredness or anxiety makes people lose interest in intimate relations.  Again, talking about things helps, and don't put off asking for help if you need it. Sex is a valuable source of enjoyment and strength in a relationship.  There's no need to rush it, let events take their course.  Start with a cuddle; let feelings of being close together again help get things back to normal. 

Sex after Stroke

Fears and causes include:

  • Pegnancy, rejection
  • Fatigue
  • Catheter, PEG
  • Embarrassment
  • Partner may now be carer
  • Communication difficulties

Every patient should be asked, at a time that seems appropriate, whether they have concerns about their sexual functioning, and this discussion should be documented’
Any patient who has a limitation on sexual functioning and wants help should:
1. Be assessed for treatable causes
2. Be assessed for the use of sildenafil or an equivalent drug, if suffering from erectile dysfunction
3. Be advised about ways to overcome practical problems
4. Be referred to a person with experience in psychosexual problems

Services available