Effects of a stroke can cause changes in a couples’ sex life. Couples can enjoy a fulfilling sex life with time and patience. This handout provides some tips that may help.

Talk to your doctor about when you can return to sex. The chance of having another stroke during sex is low. Discuss any concerns with your doctor.

Express yourself openly. Share your thoughts and feelings with your partner. Talk about sex with your partner. It may take time to be interested in sex again. Depression is common after stroke. Talk to a therapist if needed.

Rest up and plan for sex. Fatigue after stroke is common. The best time for sex might be in the morning or after resting. Make sure to plan alone time to spend together.

Start slowly. Try gentle touch or cuddling. Touch shows warmth, caring and desire. Search for what feels good. Touch can be helpful if you are having difficulty speaking.

Take time to experiment. Allow time for slower physical responses. Your sense of touch may have changed. Learn what you and your partner enjoy now.

Find a comfortable position. An effect of stroke is weakness or loss of feeling on one side of the body. Be open to different positions for sex. Try side-lying positions or try having your partner be on top. Use pillows or props to help support the body.

Take time for yourself. Both partners need time alone to benefit from time together.

Take breaks when needed. Encourage fun whenever you can. Laughter and playfulness can help your relationship.

Medicines may affect your sex life. Discuss your medicines with your doctor. Some medicines may lower your sex drive. Other medicines may cause impotence or trouble having or keeping an erection. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to help.

Birth control and pregnancy after stroke. Talk to your doctor about birth control options. Some forms of birth control may be better than others. Talk to your doctor about pregnancy and the risks involved.