What to know about sex after a vasectomy
A vasectomy should not affect sexual functioning although, it is important to let the body heal for a couple of weeks before having sex. Also, it can take another 3 months before the sperm count drops to zero.
A vasectomy is an operation that stops sperm from reaching the penis. Without sperm, the semen that a man ejaculates cannot cause pregnancy. Hence, a vasectomy is an effective method of birth control.
This article will discuss whether a vasectomy can affect sexual functioning and how long to wait before having sex after the procedure.
The first stage of recovery is to allow the surgical site to heal. A vasectomy, using a scalpel, typically involves two cuts in the scrotum. Doctors may then use stitches to seal the area up.
For vasectomies without a scalpel, doctors will operate through a small hole in the scrotum. This procedure may reduce recovery times and the risk of complications.
With both procedures, it is essential to allow the wound to heal before having sex again. This should take less than 2 weeks, but it could last longer.
There can also be pain and swelling in the area that interferes with sex after the wounds heal. It is best to avoid sex until all these symptoms go away. Having sex before the healing process is complete can cause further injuries and delay recovery.
It is possible to masturbate without putting pressure on the wounds. But ejaculating causes muscles in the area to contract, which can be painful and cause swelling.
It can take up to 3 months for a person to become completely sterile after a vasectomy. An individual is sterile when their sperm count falls to zero. It is still possible to ejaculate as before, but the semen will not contain sperm that can cause pregnancy.
During this initial 3-month period after the procedure, the sperm count may still be high enough to cause pregnancy. Even after the wound heals, it is necessary to use protection during sex. This will prevent any remaining sperm from causing pregnancy.
Doctors will perform a checkup 6–12 weeks after the vasectomy. They will assess whether the wound has recovered and organize a sperm count. It is best to wait until this checkup before having unprotected sex again.
Vasectomies are highly effective. One study estimates that between 98–99% of cases are successful, with a low risk of complications.
After a full recovery from a vasectomy, there should be no impact on sexual functioning. Having a sperm count of zero does not affect how the sexual organs work.
There should be no changes in the enjoyment of sex or reductions in sex drive. The first few ejaculations after recover may be uncomfortable, but this will ease over time. If the pain does persist, a person can consult their doctor for advice.
Vasectomies are unlikely to lead to any lasting complications. Despite early concerns, a comprehensive review in JAMA Internal Medicine found that vasectomies do not increase the risk of prostate cancer.
In rare cases, some men experience post-vasectomy pain syndrome. This condition causes chronic pain from nerve damage or a buildup of sperm that occurs after a vasectomy.
Tips to aid recovery from a vasectomy include:
- Using ice packs: Applying an ice pack to the wound for 20 minutes can reduce swelling and pain. Wrap the ice pack to keep it from making direct contact with the skin.
- Lying down: During the first few days following a vasectomy, it is advisable to lie down as much as possible. This precaution reduces strain on the wound.
- Avoiding heavy lifting: This can strain muscles around the scrotum and cause further harm.
- Wearing supportive underwear: Wearing briefs that cup the testicles can reduce pressure on the wound. A jockstrap provides additional support and reduces friction in the area.
- Cleaning regularly: It is essential to gently clean the wound every day. This routine will help to prevent infections.
- Avoiding masturbation: During recovery, it is sensible to avoid masturbating to prevent damage to muscles or tissue in the area.
Vasectomies are a highly effective procedure with a low risk of complications. It is best to avoid sex as the wound heals, usually within the first couple of weeks. After this recovery period, people should stick to protected sex until a doctor advises otherwise. This can take up to 3 months.
Vasectomies do not affect sexual functioning or reduce sex drive. After a vasectomy, it will still be possible to get an erection and ejaculate as before. Sperm only makes up a tiny proportion of semen, so a vasectomy should not cause a noticeable change in the amount of ejaculate.
Having a vasectomy can be a big decision that causes anxiety. It can help to discuss the consequences of a vasectomy with loved ones before going ahead.