There are many reasons why a person with a uterus may need — or want — to have it removed. Of course, choosing to have a hysterectomy versus being required to have one to save your life are two completely different scenarios, but they both can end up in the same place: You, sitting at the edge of your bed, wondering if you can — or even want to — have sex again. Hysterectomy or not, there is no one-size-fits-all sex drive. In other words, if you’re not interested in sex after having a hysterectomy, that’s perfectly normal, and any partner worth keeping around will understand that. Or maybe you’ve always known you never wanted to be a parent, and having a hysterectomy finally gives you the freedom to enjoy yourself sexually without having to even think about a potential pregnancy. Either way, you probably have a lot of questions and may be feeling a range of emotions, so we’re here to guide you through sex after a hysterectomy.
How long after a hysterectomy can I have sex?
Everyone heals at their own rate after this (and any) surgery, so be patient with yourself. So how long should you wait to have sex after a hysterectomy? In an interview with Prevention, Dr. Jessica Shepherd, a minimally-invasive gynecologic surgeon at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas says that while most people notice some type of improvement each day, it could take up to an eight-week wait for your pelvic area to fully heal after a hysterectomy. And, as always, talk to your own OB-GYN about what timeframe would be best for you.
And even after that eight-week mark, if you don’t feel comfortable or ready to jump right back into bed, that’s not just normal, it’s very understandable. While your sex drive may take a while to get back to your usual baseline after having a hysterectomy, Shepherd confirms that it will get better.
Does sex feel different after a hysterectomy?
It could! Depending on what was involved in your surgery, there are a variety of changes (both good and not-as-good) that you may witness. But if you think that a hysterectomy is the ultimate clit-boner-killer for everyone who has the operation, you’d be wrong. In fact, a 2014 study found that after having a hysterectomy, between 10 and 20 percent of people will experience some type of dip in their overall sexual satisfaction. And while the causes for the decrease in satisfaction probably vary significantly and range from mental, emotional, and physical aspects of sex, that figure is probably nowhere near as high as you thought it would be.
More good news: bleeding following sex after a hysterectomy is also pretty rare, Shepherd says, as long as you allow yourself to fully heal after surgery. Doing it when your body is not quite there yet could result in surgical complications and not only bleeding but also painful sex after a hysterectomy. And speaking of bleeding, we have more good news. Many people who get a hysterectomy did so in order to deal with a serious medical condition — including one that may have included vaginal bleeding as one of the symptoms. If you fall into that category, by all accounts, sex should be better after your hysterectomy in terms of bleeding and pain, and feel more enjoyable.
One of the other things that happens during a hysterectomy is that the procedure shortens the vagina and may cause numbness in the genital area, according to the American Cancer Society. Depending on your partner and the size of whatever is going inside your vagina, the shortening might not be the worst thing that could happen. But regardless of who or what you’re having sex with, you’re definitely going to want to invest in some lube moving forward. Although that’s true even if you didn’t have a hysterectomy, you may find that your vagina is drier than it was before your surgery.
Can you have oral sex after a hysterectomy?
This is also something you’d want to run by your doctor, but in most cases, once you’re fully healed after the hysterectomy, oral sex should fine. In fact, in an interview with NetDoctor, general practitioner Dr. Clare Morrison says that if you’re talking purely oral sex with no penetration, it’s probably fine to do even before you hit the eight-week mark. So go to town!