As embarrassing as it can be, surgeons often need to have a frank discussion with you about sex—especially anal sex—after certain types of surgery. This applies not only if you have had vaginal, anal, or colon surgery, but also certain abdominal or pelvic surgeries.
This article explains the risks of anal sex after surgery and at what stage it is safe to have sex again. It also offers advice on ways to avoid infection or injury while having anal sex after recovery.
Anal sex after surgery
The problem of anal sex after surgery is a complex one. In many cases, anal sex and other behaviors that can pose serious health risks may be perfectly fine.
If your surgery is not related to your genitals or abdominal area, your surgeon may recommend that you stop having sex temporarily. For example, if you’ve had rotator cuff surgery on your shoulder, your surgeon may recommend that you avoid sex for a week to be safe.
If your surgery is an abdominal surgery such as hysterectomy, you may be advised to avoid vaginal and anal sex for six weeks. This is because only a thin membrane separates the rectum from the abdominal and pelvic organs. Anal sex can press on this membrane, causing damage to the internal incision. It can add undue pressure on the external cut.
As a general rule, it is never a good idea to have sex immediately after surgery on abdominal organs such as the liver, kidneys, or stomach. Even surgery involving the ribcage (chest cavity) may require temporary avoidance of sex.
Your surgeon will also recommend against having anal sex after rectal, anal, or colon surgery. This includes hemorrhoid surgery and prostate surgery. Depending on the type and extent of surgery, you may need to avoid sex for six weeks or more.
Sexual activity, including anal sex, is usually avoided for six weeks after abdominal or pelvic surgery. For procedures involving the anus, rectum, or colon, avoid anal sex for at least six weeks.
When can I have sex after surgery?
Anal sex during recovery
Even if your surgeon allows you to have anal sex after anal or rectal surgery, keep in mind that these tissues are still fragile and prone to tiny tears.
To avoid infection, keep the surgical site clean and wash the anus with warm water and soap. Using condoms can prevent the spread of infections, including sexually transmitted infections.
To avoid injury, use plenty of lubricant during anal sex. Water-based lubricants are ideal when using latex condoms because they don’t disrupt the structure of latex like oil-based lubricants do. They’re also less likely to be annoying.
Avoid flavored or scented lubricants and those that contain the spermicide nonoxynol-9, which can irritate anal tissue.
Even if you can have anal sex after anal or rectal surgery, be sure to use plenty of lubricant to avoid damaging the tissue. To avoid infection, always use a condom.
Can anal sex lead to surgery?
You can get hurt during anal sex. In some cases, a foreign body can get stuck in the rectum and require surgical removal. These include sex toys and non-sexual items used for sexual pleasure.
In other cases, vigorous anal sex with a toy or penis can lead to rectal perforation. This is a serious condition with a hole in the wall of the rectum. Certain people are at greater risk for rectal perforation, including people with rectal cancer or those who have had radiation therapy to the anus. People with diverticulosis, which causes the pouch of the colon to weaken, are also at risk.
Sexual assault and rape can also cause anal damage, sometimes serious.
A tear in the wall of the rectum or colon can allow stool to seep into deeper tissues in the body. This, in turn, can lead to serious and even life-threatening infections. Surgery is the only way to treat a perforated rectum or colon.
Vigorous anal sex with a penis, sex toy, or other object can lead to perforation of the rectum or colon. Surgery is often the only option for repairing such perforations. Surgery may also be needed to remove the foreign body in the rectum.
Anal sex may need to be avoided after surgery because it disrupts the incision and puts too much pressure on the surgical site. Sexual activity should be avoided for six weeks after abdominal or pelvic surgery.Anal sex may need to be avoided At least Six weeks after anal, rectal, or colon surgery.
Even if sex is okay after anal or rectal surgery, use plenty of lubricant to avoid damaging delicate tissue. Condoms should also be used to avoid infection.
Anal sex can sometimes hurt. Surgery may be required if a foreign body accidentally gets stuck in the rectum. Surgery may also be needed to repair perforations in the rectum or colon during vigorous anal sex.
If you’re about to have surgery, don’t be embarrassed to ask questions about anal sex. The surgeon is happy to discuss when you can resume normal sexual activity. They might even suggest which sexual positions are the safest.