Intimacy and sexual activity

Many people who have chronic lung conditions, and their partners have concerns about the effect of sexual activity on their lungs. Sexual activity is not harmful to your lungs, and resuming intimacy and closeness with your partner can help to decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Your lung disease does not directly affect your sexual ability. However, COPD can have an impact on your physical health, such as becoming more short of breath, and perhaps your emotional health, such as feeling anxious, depressed, or lonely. Physical and emotional factors can affect your sexual ability. The fear of becoming short of breath may lead to avoidance of sexual activity or an inability to maintain sexual arousal.  

Medicines, such as bronchodilators and steroids that you take for your lung conditions, have not been documented to cause difficulties with sexual functions.  Medicines for blood pressure, diuretics, and anti-depressants may affect sexual drive and function. If you experience difficulties that interfere with intimacy, talk with your GP or nurse about medicine effects or the need for increased oxygen during sexual activity.

It is possible to maintain and improve intimate relationships by reducing breathlessness, fatigue, fear and anxiety. Simple considerations include: