Sex and Sexuality

  • Margaret E. Backman


The physical requirements for sexual intercourse have been compared to those for “a brisk walk around a city block” (Wise, 1983). Most patients with uncomplicated myocardial infarction (MI, heart attack) have the capacity for twice that expenditure of energy. Despite this, a significant number of men and women have sexual difficulties following a heart attack. As many as 60% of the men in one study reported erectile difficulties, and a third premature ejaculation (Mehta & Krop, 1979). Although medication or the complications of a heart attack could inhibit sexual functioning, in most cases it appears to be related to depression and anxiety. A certain amount of depression or lack of desire is to be expected during the recovery period following a heart attack or surgery. But if the lack of interest continues for more than a few months, other medical or psychological factors may be involved. For one, the medication may need to be adjusted. In some cases, patients who still experience the pain of angina may be disappointed with their recovery, and this may lead to the continuing depression.


Sexual Intercourse Heart Attack Sexual Dysfunction Sexual Problem Premature Ejaculation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret E. Backman
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Office of Health ServicesBarnard College, Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryNew York University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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