The question of when to resume sexual activity after a vasectomy is often the most pressing issue on a man’s mind after his procedure. You’re going to see a lot of answers to this question floating around the internet, and the answers can vary greatly. Some doctors recommend a week, some two weeks, and some just a couple of days. All of this conflicting advice can be confusing and lead to a lot of unnecessary worries. While there isn’t a definitive answer, the consensus seems to be that it’s best to wait one week before having sex again.
What do the doctors say?
We’ve compiled this list of links to websites of various medical websites organized by recommended wait times. These links should only be used as general guidelines. Your unique situation will vary, so always listen to your doctor and use common sense before resuming intercourse after a vasectomy.
As soon as comfortable
A few days
- Urology Care Foundation
- Mayo Clinic
- Lawrence Memorial Hospital
- University of Rochester Medical Center
- Marie Stopes Australia
Why do you have to wait?
One reason doctors give their patients a waiting period is to ensure the incision has time to properly heal. Since the testicles are subjected to significant movement during sex, there’s a risk that the wound could reopen if it’s not fully healed. Vasectomy incisions are relatively small and recover quickly, but doctors generally like to err on the side of caution when discussing aftercare with patients.
Another reason you need to wait is because of the intense muscle contractions that happen during an ejaculation. These muscle contractions can aggravate the wound and prolong your recovery process.Suggested reading
How long do you need to keep using contraception?
Something very important to remember is that you won’t be sterile right away. Even when you have fully healed and are able to start having sex again, you need to continue using another method of birth control until you have confirmed you are no longer ejaculating sperm.
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It’s estimated that up to 42% of men never go back for post-vasectomy sperm count.1 This is understandable given the inconvenience of a return office or lab visit, however, the only way to be sure your vasectomy has been successful is by having a post-op sperm analysis.
This point cannot be overstated: keep using birth control until your doctor confirms that you are sterile.Suggested reading
Will sex hurt after a vasectomy?
Once the surgery site has completely healed, you shouldn’t experience any pain during intercourse. However, the first couple of ejaculations after your vasectomy might feel uncomfortable. Post-vasectomy discomfort during an orgasm doesn’t necessarily mean something’s wrong–it just means you’re still sore. Waiting a week or more gives the testicular region more time to heal.
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Painful or uncomfortable orgasms beyond your doctor’s recommended waiting period may be a sign of a complication, and you should consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
Any man who’s had a vasectomy will tell you that you’re probably not going to feel like having sex immediately after your operation. Between the soreness and the sedative side-effects of pain relievers, sex isn’t usually at the top of the list. Some doctors instruct their patients to wait a certain amount of time before bathing, so you may feel unhygienic in addition to being swollen and tired.
By day three or four, these symptoms may have diminished, and many men will be feeling well enough to resume their regular sexual activity. If everything feels all right (and your doctor says it’s OK), then it’s probably safe to cautiously resume sexual activity. Some doctors who allow intercourse after a few days recommend “gentle” sexual activity.
Above all, use common sense. If you’re still tender, not feeling right, or have any reservations about resuming sex, it’s best to play it safe and wait a little longer. And remember: you won’t be sterile right away, so even when you’re physically ready to start having sex again, you need to keep using contraception.
References and further readingVasectomy-Information.com has a strict sourcing policy. We rely on evidence-based medicine, peer-reviewed studies, reputable clinical journals, and medical associations. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date by reading our editorial policy.
- Christensen RE, Maples DC. Postvasectomy Semen Analysis: Are Men Following Up? The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. Published online January 1, 2005:44-47. doi:10.3122/jabfm.18.1.44
- Vasectomy (male sterilisation). NHS. Published February 22, 2018. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/vasectomy-male-sterilisation/
- Questions About Vasectomy. DrSnip – The Vasectomy Clinic. https://www.drsnip.com/questions/
- When can a man have sex after a vasectomy? WebMD. Published August 9, 2019. https://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/qa/when-can-a-man-have-sex-after-a-vasectomy
- Urology. Gynecological clinic Sants. https://www.cgsants.es/en/abortion-gynaecology-barcelona/urology-barcelona.html
- Vasectomy: Treatment & Information. Urology Care Foundation. https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/vasectomy
- Vasectomy. Mayo Clinic. Published February 14, 2019. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/vasectomy/about/pac-20384580
- Vasectomy. Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Published February 11, 2020. https://www.lmh.org/wellness/health-library/document-viewer/?id=hw7265
- Vasectomy – Adult Urologic Conditions and Treatments. University of Rochester Medical Center. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/urology/adult-patients/vasectomy.aspx
- Patient information: Vasectomy. Marie Stopes Australia. https://www.mariestopes.org.au/vasectomy_patient_information-1803/