MSP Q&A: Can a woman have an orgasm after she’s had a hysterectomy?

Recently someone at Yahoo Questions posted that they had not been able to have orgasms following a hysterectomy, and they were wondering if this was normal and whether it would continue. This is what I wrote in reply:

Actually, sex can indeed change after a hysterectomy – but that does not mean that you will always have difficulty reaching an orgasm.

Sexual changes following a hysterectomy can be influenced by hormonal changes (a woman’s ovaries produce both estrogen and androgens – like testosterone). Estrogen supports sexual function in various ways including helping with vaginal lubrication and the thickness of vaginal tissue; testosterone has been linked with sexual desire (libido).

The method of hysterectomy may be linked to a woman’s physical experience of sex following the procedure. A hysterectomy can be performed in more than one way – and believe it or not – medical doctors and researchers still have questions about the best methods to perform a hysterectomy so that nerves that are important to sexual experience (such as nerves that help carry messages from the genitals to the brain, during orgasm) are left in tact.

Also, a hysterectomy involves removal of part or all of the uterus. Given how many women experience uterine contractions as part of orgasm, even when they do orgasm after hysterectomy, sometimes the orgasms don’t “feel” quite the same as they did before. That doesn’t mean that they feel worse; but they may feel different and it can take time to the adjust to these bodily changes.

All that is just to explain that, yes, women do often experience changes after orgasm and that you’re not “abnormal” in your experience.
 
Sex, however, will not necessarily be unfulfilling for anorgasmic (meaning “no orgasms”) forever. In fact, many women do find that – with time – their sexual experiences are similarly satisfying post-hysterectomy as they were pre-hysterectomy. In other words, if you had an enjoyable, orgasmic sex life before, you are likely to have one afterwards. It may take time, however, and it may take some exploration of your body and an adjustment of ways to achieve orgasm. There may  be some methods of stimulation (such as vibrator use) or ways to adjust your lovemaking (e.g., more time in foreplay, different positions, use of vaginal moisturizers or lubricants) that you may find to be helpful.

You can find some information related to these issues (sex after hysterectomy; orgasm issues; use of lubricants and vibrators) at MySexProfessor.com and at KinseyConfidential.org (search the archives of each).

However, as every woman’s experience with sexuality and hysterectomy are unique, you may be best supported through this process by working with a trained sex therapist – you can locate one near to you by visiting aasect.org

Take care.

Debby

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • T.

    Hi i had a complete hys 3 years ago & because of the C/A in my family Doc . say i should not take hormones. I very very rarely want sex anymore, it was awesome b4 the operation & now i just plain am not horny very often. Maybe i am thinking to much about downthere working & i need more foreplay & lots of lubricant.My partner of 7 years said he will help us to achieve good love making again.. Am i headed down the right path cause i dont care what anyone says a hysterocmoty dramatically changes or changed my outlook on sex.

  • T.

    Hi i had a complete hys 3 years ago & because of the C/A in my family Doc . say i should not take hormones. I very very rarely want sex anymore, it was awesome b4 the operation & now i just plain am not horny very often. Maybe i am thinking to much about downthere working & i need more foreplay & lots of lubricant.My partner of 7 years said he will help us to achieve good love making again.. Am i headed down the right path cause i dont care what anyone says a hysterocmoty dramatically changes or changed my outlook on sex.