There's nothing sexy about having pain in your knee or hip joints. That's why when arthritis strikes, it can make engaging in a sexual relationship difficult. Before you resign yourself to celibacy, consider findings of a new study presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' 2013 annual meeting that revealed undergoing joint replacement surgery not only increases mobility but makes physical intimacy possible again.

"Total hip and knee replacements have been shown to improve joint pain, deformity, and motion, as well as patient function. However, there is a paucity of well-designed, prospective studies in literature evaluating the outcome of these surgeries on sexual function," explains José Rodriguez, MD, the director of the Center for Joint Preservation and Reconstruction at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. This fact prompted him and his colleagues to fill in the gap, since sexual function is such an important issue for many patients and could be a motivating factor in helping people decide to go forward with surgery.

The Benefits of Hip and Knee Replacements

The researchers looked at close to 150 New Yorkers who underwent joint replacement surgery and found that the majority of them reported improvements in their sexual relations following completion of the procedure. The benefits they experienced included: an increase in the length and frequency of intercourse, a better self-image in the bedroom, and an improvement in general well-being. It's also worth noting that women reported more improvements in the bedroom than men. In addition, those who underwent hip replacement surgery seemed to have slightly more benefits than those who had a knee replacement.

Does Age Matter?

The researchers also looked at the effects of joint surgery differed in people of different age categories ranging from 35 to 70 years of age. Within these groups, the improvement in sexual function seemed to be consistent.

While most patients revisited their sexual relations with new renewed vigor, though, it's worth noting a small number of people felt that the surgery negatively impacted their sex lives, because they were afraid of doing damage to the new joint. But for most people, this wasn't a concern.

What You Can Do

If you're grappling with hip or knee joint pain yourself and find that the effects are taking a toll on your daily activities and your love life, take this opportunity to talk with your doctor and find out if you're a good candidate for one of the latest joint replacement surgery techniques. If so, it may be worth exploring your options and finding out how best to address the problem so you feel better overall and your relationship can also benefit.

Jose A Rodriguez, MD, reviewed this article.



Jose A Rodriguez, MD, Email interview 18 July 2013.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
"Sexual Function Improves Significantly after Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery" 19 March 2013.