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Can Someone With COPD Still Have Sex?

What is COPD?

COPD is a condition that leads to blockage of the airway. COPD may lead to sexual dysfunction, but you can still have sex with COPD.
COPD is a condition that leads to blockage of the airway. COPD may lead to sexual dysfunction, but you can still have sex with COPD.

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) may lead to sexual dysfunction. This might be due to fatigue and breathlessness caused by COPD. However, it should not prevent you from having sexual relations. You can still have sex despite COPD. Consider consulting with a professional for sexual guidance.

COPD refers to some conditions (Chronic bronchitis and emphysema) that lead to blockage of the airway. This results in breathing issues. COPD may occur due to tobacco smoking, air pollution, and some respiratory conditions.

If you have COPD, you are likely to show some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing frequently
  • Difficulty taking in deep breaths
  • Excessive production of mucus or sputum
  • Breathlessness

How COPD may affect sex

COPD is quite a common chronic condition. It is currently the third-largest cause of death in the United States. For a long time, it was seen as a condition that only affected men. However, that has changed over the years. Cases of COPD in women are starting to become just as common.

COPD might cause hardships during sex. This is because the respiratory condition may cause you difficulty performing heavy tasks. As mentioned earlier, it affects both men and women. If you are a woman, you may experience difficulty breathing, wheezing, or coughing during sexual activity. Such experiences may cause some adverse effects on your general health and your sexual health.

Respiratory issues caused by COPD should not prevent you from enjoying a good sex life. After being diagnosed with COPD, talk to your doctor and partner about your problem to figure out the best way forward.

How to enjoy sex with COPD

You can still enjoy sex despite having breathing issues and fatigue caused by COPD. Here are a few things you can do to start enjoying your sex life:

Communicate with your partner

To maintain a good relationship, you need to talk to your partner about your sexual issues caused by COPD. This may go a long way in helping you overcome some of these issues and find solutions that work for you. Try not to give in to the discomfort that might come with sharing such a personal issue.

Physical exercise

The energy you require for sex is the same energy you need to perform your normal tasks, like walking around the house. Consider engaging in simple activities like walking. Also, you may decide with your partner to have sex during your best hours of the day when issues like breathing are not much of a problem.

Avoid air pollution

Escaping the health effects of air pollution on your COPD can involve avoiding using products with irritants in the house. An excellent example of a product that might cause breathing problems is fragrances. Other possible irritants to avoid include smoke, dust, pet dander, and mold. This should be enforced especially in the bedroom, where sex happens most. You may also consider using unscented products to prevent irritation.

Focus on cooling

Try keeping cool while having sex to help avoid breathlessness and fight off the heat. You may do so by having a fan on or opening the window to let some cool air in. Let the cool air blow on your face. A lot of heat may worsen your breathing issues.

Use medications if needed

Consider taking medication to avoid breathlessness before sex. This may also help prevent issues like wheezing or coughing during sexual activity. Take some short-acting bronchodilators about 15 minutes before sex. You may also consider having your inhaler close to being ready in case an issue arises.

If you are male and having erectile dysfunction, consult with your doctor for a prescription of medication to solve it. Also, consider clearing any excess mucus before engaging in sexual activity.

Use oxygen

Consider using supplemental oxygen during sex if you don’t already for your COPD. You may extend the length of the oxygen tube so you can move around quickly. If you do not use supplemental oxygen, consider consulting a professional about starting to use it during sexual activities.


It may help to be experimental in the bedroom. Consider trying different sex positions. This may help you in finding the best positions for you. Avoid positions that involve applying pressure to your chest.

Consider a break

If you start experiencing breathing problems while having sexual relations, try taking a short break to catch a breath.

Keep your goal in mind

Try to remember the ultimate goal of making love, which is intimacy. Aim to have the most intimate experience despite having COPD.

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