In our society we tend to equate sex with health and youth and assume that the ill and the handicapped are sexless. This simply is not true. Only during the most acute of illnesses do people go off sex, and increasingly doctors are realising that couples continue their sex lives wherever possible if they have chronic illnesses.
Heart disease and high blood pressure-During intercourse the heart rate may double, as may the breathing rate, and the blood pressure rises too. There is considerable public concern that sexual activity with heart disease or high blood pressure is dangerous or even possibly fatal. Such deaths are in fact very rare and when they do occur they do so more commonly during extramarital intercourse.
Advice about sex after a heart attack varies enormously but it is probably safe to resume sexual activities five to ten weeks after the heart attack unless the attack was exceptionally severe. One way to tell if you are ready is to see how you feel after a quick walk or after going up a couple of flights of stairs.
Even if one of these conditions makes one wary of returning to or carrying on with intercourse there are several half-way houses that can be tried which stop short of actual intercourse and its exertions.
Mutual masturbation relieves sexual tensions but is less strenuous. The next stage can include woman-on-top positions – when it is the man who is recovering – in which the woman makes most of the physical effort. Slowly a couple affected by heart disease can wean themselves back to normal sex life.