Sexuality & your heart

Find out what making love does to your ticker!

heart_handsThe romantic cliché “you make my heart race” is actually based on fact. During sexual relations, major changes take place in the circulatory system: systolic blood pressure is raised between 40 and 80 mm, and diastolic blood pressure between 20 and 50 mm. The breathing rate increases to 40 breaths per minute, instead of the normal rate of 12. The heart rate also increases between 100 and 175 beats per minute. All of this makes the heart work much harder, which as we would expect, in some cases can be dangerous. We have all heard the stories about the 90 year-old multi-millionaire in bed with a 25 year-old…

However this extra stress placed on the heart lasts only a relatively short time and is comparable to climbing a few flights of stairs. In general terms, the heart can withstand this effort without problems. In some cases after a person has suffered a heart attack, for instance, doctors recommend going back to normal activity, including sex, and sometimes actually encourage it as a form of aerobic exercise that gets the heart pumping. In some rare cases, sexual relations may be off-limits on the recommendations of a heart specialist.

One problem that often arises in men with heart problems is that they are afraid that having sex will cause a heart attack, or a repeat attack if they have already suffered one episode. Fear can often lead to impotence, so it is important for your relationship with your partner that you get reassurance and guidance from your physician. Experts believe that one way to overcome these nerves is to start with masturbation or mutual masturbation with your partner, gradually working your way up to full intercourse. This helps prevent frustration for you and your partner.

Your doctor may be able to prescribe beta blockers or calcium channel blockers to you, which will make sex easier on your heart. If you have heart problems, you should avoid having sex when under stress or angry, as your heart is already working harder as a result of stress and you should avoid taxing it any further.

Consult the advice of your physician, and enjoy a healthy sex life.