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Sex Positions After Joint Replacement

You’ve had joint replacement surgery, and your healthcare provider has said it’s OK to have sex. You may be wondering what positions are safe and comfortable. These positions should be safe after either a hip or a knee replacement. Try to avoid putting too much pressure on your new joint. Also, take the same care getting out of a position as you did getting into it. If you have had a hip replacement, always keep the joint within a safe range of motion.

For hip replacements

After a hip replacement, be sure the knee on the affected side:

  • Remains level with or below the hip.

  • Does not cross the belly button (the body’s midpoint)

Setting the scene

Having sex can be a little easier if you plan ahead. Here are a few tips:

  • Take a mild pain medicine about 20 to 30 minutes before sex. This can help prevent minor aches. Don't take medicine so strong that it masks warning pain.

  • Have pillows and rolled towels nearby. They can be used for body support.

  • Relax. Do a few easy stretches within a safe range of motion.

  • The shaded areas in the following images show new joints.

Face-to-face sex position.

Face-to-face

  • This position works after either a hip or a knee replacement. Being on the bottom is safe for the person with a new joint.

  • The partner on the bottom who had surgery keeps the legs apart and turned out slightly. Use pillows to support the legs on the outside.

  • Depending on comfort, the person on the bottom can recline propped up on pillows or lie flat.

  • If the person has a new hip joint, place pillows between their knees. This keeps the knees from crossing the body’s belly button, or midpoint.

Sitting in a chair

  • This position works after a hip or knee replacement. It's a safe position for a person with a new joint.

  • One person sits on a straight chair. Their feet are supported or are flat on the floor.

  • One partner sits on the other's lap.

  • Either position is safe for a person with a new joint.

Sitting-in-a-chair sex position.

Woman-lying-and-man-standing sex position.

Person with new joint lying and partner kneeling

  • This lying position works for a person with a new hip or knee joint.

  • The person with the new joint lies on the bed on their back, buttocks near the edge of the bed. Both feet should be supported or flat on the floor.

  • The partner kneels in front on pillows placed on the floor. The partner's hands are placed on either side of the person with a new joint's body.

Side-lying position

  • This position works for the person with a replaced knee joint.

  • The person with a new hip or knee joint lies on their side, with the new joint on the bottom.

  • Use pillows for support. 

Side-lying sex position.

Sex position with man on top, supporting weight on elbows.

Person with new hip joint propped on elbows

  • This position is for a person with a new hip joint.

  • Person with new hip lies on top of their partner.

  • Person with new hip stretches out their legs behind them, with a pillow between the knees.

  • Person with new hip supports their weight on their elbows.

If your partner has had a hip replacement:

  • Make sure your partner’s provider says it’s OK to have sex.

  • Help your partner stay within a safe range of motion.

  • Control the amount and speed of movement during sex.

  • Don't put all your weight on your partner’s hips.

Online Medical Reviewer: Goode, Paula, RN, BSN, MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph, Thomas N., MD
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2018
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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