Do This – Not That: Maintaining Intimacy While on Post Op Restrictions

Following your hysterectomy, your surgeon will restrict your sexual activities until you are appropriately healed. You may have to wait for intimacy for a few weeks or even several months after your surgery. Some women may be on complete pelvic rest, meaning no sexual activity at all, including orgasm. Others may be permitted to engage in outercourse after a few weeks of healing. Only your own doctor can say what is safe for you, so it’s important to ask specifically what sexual activity is OK for you.

You may experience a surge in libido post op, and this can make following your restrictions difficult. It’s very important to continue to follow your restrictions as you only have one chance to heal right. Engaging in intimate activities before doctor’s clearance can result in serious complications such as vaginal cuff tearing, infection, increased pain, and delayed healing.

The good news is that you can still maintain intimacy and closeness while you are on restrictions. In fact, loving physical contact can help you feel less pain and even recover faster. Your brain releases oxytocin when you are hugged or snuggled by a loved one. Studies show that oxytocin reduces blood pressure, decreases stress and anxiety, and even helps damaged tissue repair faster. Your recovery time can be a special bonding time with your partner. With sex off the table, you may feel more free to express your love in different ways.


  • Take every opportunity to share a kiss
  • Smile and flirt
  • Play board games together
  • Give/get gentle massages or foot rubs
  • Share secrets
  • Go for a walk and hold hands
  • Snuggle while you watch TV
  • Sleep in your partners’ shirt
  • Write love notes
  • Light candles
  • Share something you love about the other person each day
  • Plan a romantic weekend for when you’re cleared (remember 6 weeks is a guideline only!)


  • Don’t assume that restrictions mean “hands off”
  • Don’t avoid each other
  • Don’t forget to say please and thank you
  • Don’t assume you know everything about the other person
  • Don’t forget that intimacy is more than the sexual act
  • Don’t forget to communicate
  • Don’t forget to acknowledge your partner’s support
  • Don’t put pressure on yourself regarding the “first time”

Maintaining intimacy post op will help you feel more supported during your recovery and may also make the transition back to intercourse easier. Some women find they don’t feel emotionally ready for intimacy right away or are faced with a hesitant husband. Communication is always key to intimate relationships.

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.  Reprinted with permission: Do This – Not That: Maintaining Intimacy While on Post Op Restrictions

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