Not being able to have sex, or struggling to enjoy it because of arthritis is a big deal to a lot of people. 50% of our patients with hip arthritis will have some difficulty having sex as a result of pain and stiffness and 20% of those who end up having a hip replacement have severe or extreme difficulties with their sex lives. Up to10% have to abstain altogether.
Thankfully total hip replacement usually results in good relief of hip pain and will restore the sex lives of most. Many recovering from a hip replacement can therefore look forward to getting ‘back onto the playing field’ after surgery – but many may also be apprehensive as to how far to push things (so to speak) with their new hip.
Researchers from Geneva have gone to considerable trouble on their behalf by producing valuable research which sheds light on those sexual positions most likely to cause damage to their new hip.
Armed with an energetic young couple, motion capture and CAD software, an MRI and a CT scanner, the authors were able to simulate the effect that any one of 12 different sexual positions might have on a hip replacement.
The results indicate that the news is good for those who favour a more ‘traditional’ style of sexual intercourse – the study did not flag up any problems with the missionary position. But those a little more adventurous may have to adjust their love-making style to reduce the risk of strain on the new hip or that of the ultimate passion killer, hip dislocation.
Women, it seems are likely to be more at risk than men. Those positions which result in a lot of hip flexion combined with abduction and external rotation (this is easier to visualise than describe – by looking at positions 5,8, and 10 on the diagram). For men, those positions which involve a lot of ‘external rotation of the hip’ ( e.g. positions 3,5 and 8) may cause problems. This might exclude a few positions from the menu but thankfully still leaves plenty to choose from. The helpful diagram also includes a few positions that some may not yet have had the chance to try.
There’s a nice video summary of the research here (I wish all researchers would produce on of these)
Sexual activity after Total hip Arthroplasty: A Motion Capture Study. Charnonnier et al (doi:10.1016/j.arth.2013.07.043)
Sexual function before and after primary total hip arthroplasty: Laffosse et al (doi:10.1016/j.jbspin.2007.05.006)