Sex After Hip Replacement: How Long To Wait And What You Can Do

Sex After A Hip Replacement Is Possible — You Just Need to Know What You’re Doing

April 16, 2021 Updated April 19, 2021

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Esther Ann/Unsplash

As much as we’d all like to think of ourselves as eternally being in the peak physical condition we were in our 20s or 30s, the reality is that we age. Of course, everyone ages in their own way, and what one 42-year-old is physically capable of may differ significantly from a friend who’s the same age. (Paul Rudd, and whatever Faustian bargain he made to perpetually look 25 is a different category completely.) Anyway, sometimes, as we age, certain parts don’t work the way they did when they were still under warranty, and we may need something replaced — like a hip, for instance. And while you may be looking forward to all the things you’ll be able to do with your new hip, you may also be concerned about what might be off-limits, at least for a while (yes, sex, obviously). The good news is that sex after a hip replacement is absolutely possible, as long as you go in with some background information, sex tips, realistic expectations, and a few sex positions in your pocket. Here’s what to know.

How long after hip replacement surgery can you have sex?

First, the good news. If you required hip replacement surgery, chances are that sex was pretty tricky before the procedure. And although it might take your body some time to heal, you’ll likely emerge being more physically capable of sex than you were pre-operation. So how much time does your hip need to heal? Of course, every person and body is different, so it’s something you’re going to want to ask your doctor about to find out about a timeframe that’s best for you. But, as a general guideline, Dr. Robert Nickodem, an orthopedic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic tells his patients it’ll probably be about six to eight weeks before they’re cleared for sex.
If you have other sex-adjacent questions — like how long before you can lay on your side, or bend down after hip replacement — the same rule applies: after six to eight weeks, or when you get the all-clear from your doctor.

What can you never do after hip replacement surgery?

Again, this is something you should discuss with your doctor, but generally speaking, there are no official medical guidelines regarding prohibited sex positions and techniques after having hip replacement surgery — as long as you’ve fully healed and made it beyond the six to eight-week mark. For example, during those first six to eight weeks, you shouldn’t raise your knee past hip level, nor should you move your knee across the midpoint of your body, according to Nickodem. But rotating your knee out and away from your body is OK, as long as it’s not painful or uncomfortable for you.

What can you do to prepare for sex after a hip replacement?

There are a few things you can do to help make sex more enjoyable and comfortable for you after having (and recovering from) hip replacement surgery, Nickodem notes in the guidelines from the Cleveland Clinic. These include:
  1. Stretching and/or taking a mild pain medication ahead of time
  2. Supporting your hip joint using pillows or rolled towels to support your feet, legs, or knees
  3. Moving slowly and being careful about the amount and speed of movement during sex

What are the best positions for having sex after a hip replacement?

While it’s probably OK to get back into your usual sexual routine once your hip has healed after surgery (depending on what it entailed, of course), but according to Cynthia Mosher, a registered nurse and founder of RecoverSex, some positions are easier on the hip than others. These include:
  • Face-to-Face: The partner with the new hip is on the bottom and can lay back on pillows propped behind the back.
  • Side-Lying: In the spoon position, the person with a new hip can lie on either side.
  • Alternate-Side Lying: The partners face each other, and the one with a new hip can lie on either side. The upper leg can be draped over the partner’s legs.
The bottom line is that once you take the time to fully heal, you may be able to do more during sex than even before your surgery. Have fun!