Harvard Men's Health Watch

Heart attack survivors can have sex without fear

Sex does not appear to trigger a heart attack or increase your risk for a second one, suggests a study in the Sept. 21, 2015, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Experts looked at 536 heart attack survivors ages 30 to 70 and evaluated their sexual activity in the 12 months prior to their heart attack. Sexual activity was divided into three categories: less than once a month, less than once a week, and once or more per week.

Only 0.7% reported having had sex within an hour before their heart attack. In comparison, more than 78% reported that their last sexual activity occurred more than 24 hours before their heart attack.

Even better news: your risk does not change much once you have recovered. After a 10-year follow-up, the study found an average of about 3% heart-related events occurred between the three groups. "Based on our data, it seems very unlikely that sexual activity is a relevant trigger of heart attack," according to lead author Dr. Dietrich Rothenbacher.

The researchers also noted that sex is considered moderate physical activity and is comparable to climbing two staircases or taking a brisk walk. Men with heart disease should still discuss their sexual activity with their doctor, but it appears that they can continue their normal sex life with little concern.