When it comes to the recovery phase of plastic surgery, one of the more commonly asked questions by patients is “When can I have sex after _________?” [Insert the surgical procedure of your choice.]
Much like walking or driving, sex after surgery is a small but universal milestone against which patients like to gauge their recovery progress.
Unless your plastic surgeon tells you otherwise—and you should feel perfectly comfortable asking them—you can typically expect to be having sex after plastic surgery within roughly the timeframes covered in detail here.
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My Mind’s Telling Me No… But My Body, My Body…
The two distinct timeframes involved in sex after surgery are:
- When will having sex no longer put you at risk of complications?
- When will you feel like having sex again?
Because when your nose is bruised, bleeding, and bandaged after a rhinoplasty, sex will probably not be the first thing on your mind. (But if it is, you wouldn’t be quite the first patient to have experienced the urge.)
Why Postpone Sex After Plastic Surgery
Some of the many reasons that women have for choosing to undergo cosmetic surgery is the increased confidence and comfort in one’s own skin that some cosmetic surgery can provide.
For many, cosmetic surgery helps their body more closely match their ideals–whether than means looking more youthful, or more voluptuous. The reasons are as varied as they are personal.
But the physical process your body, and any body, will undergo and the difficulties it will endure are constant and unforgiving: No matter your goal, incisions have to be made, cannulas may need to be inserted, tissue is excised (i.e., cut out), and real blood comes out of very tangible openings in the body.
Because that process is so tough on the body, we want to avoid anything that prevents it from healing as well as possible. Sex isn’t the only thing you have to postpone after plastic surgery.
By postponing sexual intercourse and other physically demanding tasks, you greatly reduce the likeness of complications, infection, and incision tears and you allow your body the time, rest and energy that it needs to heal as best it can.
How Long to Put Off Sex After Plastic Surgery
With that in mind, here is how long you should wait after plastic surgery to have sex, according to most board-certified plastic surgeons.
Because each case (and its potential complications) are so unique, you should always ask your own plastic surgeon what they advise, but these general time frames may help you understand what to expect and when you might be able to head back into the bedroom.
Breast Augmentation: 3-6 Weeks
If you’ve recently had breast augmentation surgery and are looking to put your new assets to use, you’re probably wondering when it is safe to do so.
You’ll want to reduce the risk of pain and complications, as well as allow your incisions sufficient time to heal and start having sex when it is safe to again do so.
That point is usually within 3-6 weeks after your breast augmentation surgery, with many surgeons settling on about 4 weeks as a blanket answer, providing there are no indications of infection or problems in your healing thus far.
Liposuction Surgery: 2-14 Days
Unlike breast augmentation surgery, liposuction does not involve making linear incisions in the body. Liposuction needs only a few small holes, through which a cannula is inserted in order to extract fatty tissue.
That said, liposuction is also a widely varying procedure, since it can be done on multiple parts of the body, the size and scope of which will be a determining factor in when you can have sex.
If you get liposuction on a small area of your body, you should expect to be able to safely have sex within anywhere from one to four days. This timeframe could apply to, for instance, submental (under chin) liposuction, as well as to lipo of the knees and arms.
If you get liposuction on a larger area of your body, you should expect to be able to safely have sex within about 10 to 14 days. This might apply to larger areas of the body that have been treated with liposuction, including the stomach, thighs, and buttocks.
Facial Plastic Surgery: 3-8 Weeks
Facial plastic surgery: With no implants, and no large incisions on the body, how would facial plastic surgery impact when or whether you can have sex after surgery?
The two greatest concerns here are making physical contact with the part of your face that has been operated on—whether the nose, the eyes, or the neck—and elevated blood pressure.
When it comes to facial plastic surgery procedures in particular, you’ll want to assess how you feel physically, and check in frequently with your surgeon. Part of your recovery process will involve gradually increasing your level of physical activity and exertion.
Sex shouldn’t be an activity you use to “test” whether you can bear certain levels of activity.
Because unlike our first footsteps after plastic surgery, or our first attempt at raising our arms above our head—both of which we can ease into slowly and stop if it gets uncomfortable, sex is, well, different.
After a facelift, you might feel up to having sex 14-21 days after your surgery.
Three weeks after a facelift, it is safe to do so, providing nothing out of the ordinary occurred during your recovery period.
You would likely know whether something unusual occurred, though it’s always safest to check with your surgeon should you have any questions.
For a rhinoplasty or nose job, as we discussed previously, you’re probably looking somewhere closer to six or eight weeks.
Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery: 4-6 Weeks
Much like breast augmentation, vaginoplasty for many patients is an intimate and empowering experience. Women who undergo this surgical procedure often experience a greatly improved confidence in their sex life.
Following the surgery, you’ll likely be advised to abstain from masturbation, sexual intercourse, and even the use of tampons for 4-6 weeks.
Follow ups after surgery are usually done once or twice within this time frame, and your surgeon will inform you if you can engage in any of these actions before a full four or six weeks has passed, or, more rarely, that it would be best if you held off from intercourse for a few more weeks while healing is given a chance to run its full course.
Male Breast Reduction Surgery: 7-10 Days
Statistically speaking, women are more likely to undergo each of the plastic surgery procedures listed above. But how about one of the most common male cosmetic surgery procedure?
Gynecomastia, or male breast reduction surgery. When can a man safely have sex after having the glandular tissue and fat removed through liposuction and other means from his chest?
Men should typically wait between 7-10 days after male breast reduction surgery to have sex.