Sex After Lumbar Spine Surgery

There are several surgeries which can be performed to address lumbar spine problems. Some are more extensive than others. Various surgeries to address lumbar spine problems include lumbar discectomy, lumbar laminectomy, and lumbar fusion with or without instrumentation.

When is it safe to resume sex after spine surgery?

The time frame for resumption of sexual activity depends on the type and extensiveness of the surgery. Consult your surgeon regarding when it is safe to resume sexual relations.

Postoperative recovery can present challenges for resumption of sexual relations. The lower back and incision can be painful, muscle spasms may occur, and there may be side effects of pain medication.

There may also be numbness in the pelvic area because many of the nerves in the pelvis can be effected by surgery and anesthesia.


For women, this may mean lack of sensation in the vagina and clitoris which could impact the ability to reach orgasm. For men, pelvic nerve involvement may effect the ability to get and maintain an erection. If any of these issues are problematic for you, consult your surgeon for help.

All of these factors may interfere with the desire for intimacy. Symptoms experienced prior to surgery may not be relieved immediately and can persist from weeks to months. Resumption of sexual activity should be gradual to minimize recurrent symptoms and enhance comfort and pleasure. Care must be taken not to excessively bend or twist your spine.


Waiting the time frame recommended by your surgeon to resume sex after lumbar spine surgery provides several advantages. The surgical wound will be healed sufficiently so that there is less sensitivity along the incision line. Muscle spasms will have subsided. Soft tissue healing will have occurred, stabilizing the spine.

Once ready to resume sexual relations, several measures can be taken to enhance intimacy. You should initially take a passive role, assuming positions that are as natural and relaxed as possible.

Choosing positions which put minimal stress on your spine are best. Using pillows to support your knees in a bent position takes the stress off your low back. A small pillow may be used under your low back to relieve pressure. If tolerated, taking pain medication, either narcotic or over-the-counter, prior to sexual relations may enhance comfort.

During sexual relations, your partner can help you to be more comfortable by controlling the amount and speed of movement, and avoid putting their full weight on your back.

Sexual Positioning…