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Intimacy After Joint Replacement

After a total joint replacement, you may have many questions: How soon can I be active? How will my sex life be affected? When can I have sex again? The good news is: it’s likely that you can return to sex sooner than many other activities. This sheet can help you learn to support and protect your new joint when you’re ready to have sex again. So talk to your healthcare provider about when it's safe to have sex and plan with your partner.

The first step

A total joint replacement is major surgery. Healing takes time. At first, you may be afraid that any activity, including sex, could cause pain or injury. Your partner may also be afraid of hurting you. These fears are normal. Having concerns about the way your body looks is also normal. Discuss such issues with your partner. Share this sheet. Read it together or separately. It’s up to you two. What matters most is that you talk with each other about your needs—emotional as well as sexual ones.

As you heal

Before surgery, hip or knee pain may have greatly limited your movement. But now that the problem joint has been replaced, your pain should be lessened. And with time, your range of motion (how much you can move your hip in each direction) should improve. As you heal, you may feel ready to be more active again. You may also find a renewed desire for sex. When you and your partner are ready, learn which positions are best for you.

After hip replacement

Your surgeon can tell you when it should be safe to have sex. Healing takes at least 6 to 8 weeks after a total hip replacement. Until the new joint is fully healed, avoid movements that could move your hip out of the socket. Protect your hip by avoiding these movements:

  • Don’t allow your knee to cross the midpoint of your body (your bellybutton).

  • Don’t plant your foot and twist your body outward over the hip.

  • Don’t raise your knee past hip level.


Legs from knee down showing right knee raised. Dotted line shows knee aligned with hip. Person from waist down with knees bent and together. Ghosted in drawing shows knees apart.

After knee replacement

There are no safety restrictions after a knee replacement. You can probably have sex as soon as your pain allows. Comfort and range of motion may be your biggest issues.


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