Hernias can be hella painful, and sometimes surgery is the only way to fix the issue. You might have to avoid rigorous activities — like sex — until you’ve recovered. Here’s the lowdown.

Hernias 101

Before we get into the sexy deets, here’s a quick rundown on hernias.

Around 1 million Americans have a hernia repair every year. The most common type of hernia is inguinal, but umbilical hernias are also fairly common.

  • Inguinal hernias can happen when tissue pushes through a weak spot in your abdominal muscles. It can cause a visible bulge and may make everyday activities a legit pain. Anyone can get an inguinal hernia, but they’re much more common in folks with penises.
  • Umbilical hernias can occur when part of the intestine bulges through the opening in your ab muscles near your belly button. They’re most common in infants, but adults can get them too.

Whether you have an inguinal or umbilical hernia, the most important factor that affects recovery time is the type of surgery.

Doctors might use laparoscopic (aka “keyhole”) surgery to repair hernias through a tiny slit in the skin. The other method is open surgery, which involves a much larger cut and longer recovery time.

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In most cases, you’ll have to avoid heavy lifting for 4 to 6 weeks after a hernia repair. Your doc might also suggest you abstain from sex while you’re healing.

Your healing time frame will totally depend on the type of surgery you had, among other recovery factors. You might not be able to have sex without discomfort for a few days, a few weeks, or longer.

When can I have sex after hernia surgery?

There’s no exact time frame for when you can bump uglies post-procedure. Some people can get it on a week or so after surgery, while others have to wait several weeks or longer.

When you feel comfortable and are no longer feeling aftereffects from the procedure, you can start thinking about commencing those sexy good times again.

Listen to your body and you’ll know when you’re raring to *go*.

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The location of a hernia doesn’t affect recovery time as much as the type of surgery.

Hernias can develop in:

  • the inner groin (inguinal)
  • the outer groin (femoral)
  • the belly button (umbilical)
  • the abdominal/ventral wall (ventral)
  • the upper stomach/diaphragm (hiatal)
  • an abdominal incision or scar (incisional)

Other factors can have a greater effect on your recovery time, including:

  • your age
  • the type of surgery you had (laparoscopic or open)
  • your overall health
  • any complications during the procedure or recovery

You might not want to get it on

TBH, you might not want to have sex right away. Pain, swelling, and soreness are common after a hernia repair. Also, anesthesia can leave you feeling more tired than usual for a week or two.

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Most people bounce back more quickly from laparoscopic surgery than from open repair.

In a 2020 study comparing the two procedures, researchers found that people who had laparoscopic surgery used fewer pain meds after surgery than those who had open surgery, suggesting a speedier recovery.

If you had laparoscopic surgery, you might be able to have sex within a week. But if you had a more invasive procedure, you may have to wait several weeks or longer.

Keep in mind that everyone is different. Even if you had a minor repair, you might have to wait a while to get your freak on. Be sure to ask your doctor when it’s safe to have sex again.


Lots of people with penises get nervous about how hernia repair will impact their ability to get an erection.

Here’s the hard truth: The inguinal area (aka the inner groin) is close to essential nerves for sexual function. There’s a low risk that hernia repair in that area may injure the nerves, your blood vessels, or the sperm tube leading to your testicles.

So, basically, hernia repair shouldn’t screw with your ability to pitch a tent. But you might have some swelling in your scrotum, peen, or balls.

Even though hernia repairs are common, it’s still surgery.

You can expect post-op swelling or discomfort. You might also feel a pulling sensation near the site of the incision and a general sense of soreness.

As a result, sex will probably be uncomfortable or even painful until the hernia has fully healed.

Best post-surgery sex position

Low impact sex positions that don’t put pressure on your abdomen are the way to go. Keep in mind that sex doesn’t have to involve penetration to be mind-blowing.

Your safest bet is to give and receive oral sex, since it doesn’t require thrusting. And it’s still an intimate way to keep the spark going with a partner until you’re all patched up.

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A sex decathlon always seems like a great idea at first — but it might be a little hasty *right* after hernia repair. You might have to tweak your approach to bedroom antics until you’re fully healed.

Here are some tips to make your post-op sex sesh more enjoyable:

  • Start slow and gauge your discomfort.
  • Avoid any friction near the incision site.
  • Put a pillow over your stomach to provide extra support.
  • Chat with your partner to make sure you’re on the same page.
  • Get creative and try some positions that are easy on your ab area.

If sex gets painful, stop. Any sexual partner worth their salt will value your feelings and experience, working with you to aid recovery and provide support.

When to see a doctor

Reach out to your doctor if:

  • You have a tough time peeing.
  • The incision site leaks or smells bad.
  • You’re having a hard time getting hard.
  • Pain continues several weeks after your hernia procedure.

Reminder: Be sure to ask your doc when it’s OK to have sex again. Everyone has a different set of factors that affect recovery time. Your doctor will be able to customize their advice for your needs and general health.

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Hernia repairs can affect your sexy time. In most cases you can bump uglies a week or two after surgery, but sometimes you have to wait longer. Every body’s different.

Recovery time can depend on surgery type, hernia location, and other healing factors, like age.

Remember that not all sex involves penetration. You can connect with your partner(s) in other ways while you recover. (What’s wrong with a good old-fashioned makeout sesh, huh?)

Just be sure listen to your body and your doctor and communicate with your partner. And if it hurts, don’t do it!