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.

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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.

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

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.

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.

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!