Heart failure can affect all aspects of your life. This includes your sexual relationships. There is no need to be embarrassed to talk to your doctor or nurse if you have questions about how your condition can affect your energy,desire or ability to have sexual intercourse.

Here are some tips that may help:

  • The amount of energy that is needed to have sexual intercourse is about the same as what is needed to climb 1-2 flights of stairs or to walk about a half mile at a brisk pace. If you aren’t able to do these activities without becoming tired or short of breath, talk to your doctor before you have sex.
  • Your medications may affect your arousal and ability to have sex.
  • Most times, patients with heart failure can take medications as needed for erectile dysfunction. Please talk to your doctor first to make sure it is all right for you to take these types of medications.
  • Have sex when you are rested and physically comfortable.
  • You may need to make changes to adjust to the amount of energy you have for sex.
  • Sexual relationships are both physical and emotional. Talk openly with your partner about how you feel and set realistic expectations. You can also find different ways to show affection. It is important for both partners to be honest, caring and loving.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/19/2018.

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