(HealthDay News) — Fewer than one out of five acute myocardial infarction (MI) patients get advice from their doctor on whether they can resume sexual activity, and what information they do get often is wrong, according to findings published in Circulation.

Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, director of integrative sexual medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and colleagues asked 3,501 women and men aged 18 to 55 years about the counseling on sexual activity they received following their acute MI. The questions were asked of patients at 127 hospitals in the United States and Spain from 2008 to 2012.

One month after their acute MI, only 12% of women and 19% of men in the study reported receiving sexual counseling from their health care provider. 

In the instances when patients did discuss sex with their doctors, 68% were given unwarranted restrictions, the researchers found. About 35% of those counseled were told to limit sex, 26% were told to take a more passive role and 23% were instructed to keep their heart rate down during sex.

“There’s no evidence for making these specific kinds of recommendations, and they’re also kind of hard to implement, when you think about it,” Lindau told HealthDay

“The vast majority of people who have a heart attack do not receive any counseling from their physician about sex,” she said. “If a doctor doesn’t bring it up, there are some who will not resume sexual activity because they fear it could trigger another heart attack.”


  1. Lindau ST et al. Circulation. 2014;doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.012709.