Sexual intimacy and COPD 

Sex and Sensibility: A Guide for a Good Sex Life

COPD affects many areas of your life; sexuality is one of them. You may get short of breath when you are having intimate relations. COPD also affects your emotional health; you may feel anxious, depressed, or lonely. Many people with COPD (and their partners) are nervous about having sex. By following this advice, you can enjoy sexual intimacy and benefit from feeling close to your partner.

image089-1The person with COPD will eventually experience shortness of breath during sex- ual intimacy. A small minority of people with COPD can manage their shortness of breath by using a bronchodilator before or during sexual relations. However, for most people with COPD, the fear of becoming short of breath may lead to avoidance of sexual activity or an inability to maintain sexual arousal. The non-COPD partner may believe that abstaining from sexual activity is in the COPD partner’s best inter- est. Quite the contrary, resuming intimacy and closeness with the partner can help to decrease the loneliness and isolation of the person with COPD.

Some things to keep in mind about COPD and sexuality:

  • OCD does not diminish sexual ability; it is only the frequency of sexual activ- ity that is limited, as are all strenuous physical activities.
  • Physical effort required for sexual intercourse is approximately equal to that required to climb one flight of stairs at a normal pace.
  • Binning an exercise program will help to build up the COPD person’s tolerance to activity and in turn help to reduce shortness of breath with activity.
  • Research findings show that the effort required for intercourse does not raise blood pressure, heart rate and respiration rate to a level that is considered dangerous.
  • Education specific for your lungs will not affect your sexual drive; however, if you are taking other medications (e.g., antidepressants), it is important to ask your physician how these may interfere with your sexual drive.
  • One changes in sexuality are not relat – ed to your lung disease but are normal changes with aging. For instance, slower erections and delayed orgasms are nor- mal in middle and later
  • Obuse of the physical effort required, it is important to have adequate rests both before and during sexual relations. In other words plan your activity for your best time of  day  and  rest at intervals during the activity if necessary.
  •  Bronchial  secretions  prior  to sexual activity.
  •  To have sexual activity immediately after using a bronchodilator.
  • You use supplemental oxygen for activity plan to use the same amount of oxygen during sexual relations.
  • Sexual activity immediately after a heavy meal, after consuming alcohol, in an uncomfortable room temperature or when under emotional stress. All of these factors will only increase your fatigability.
  • Sex positions that are less energy consuming and that avoid pressure on the For instance, side-to-side position during intercourse is more comfort- able and less tiring than the top-bottom position.
  • The able-bodied partner assume a more active role so that the COPD partner becomes less fatigued or
  •  Allergic elements in the environment (e.g., perfumes, hair sprays) that may induce
  • Remember that simply touching, being touched and being close to someone is essential to help a person feel loved, special and truly a partner in the relationship.


Information provided from The Canadian Lung Association. Read more about Coping with COPD at their website