How Soon Can I Have Sex After a Vasectomy?

Complete sterility after surgery may take months

You can safely have sex about one to two weeks after a vasectomy, but the effect on your sterility will not be complete until about three months after the procedure. You need to go through a semen analysis after your vasectomy to confirm that you cannot get your partner pregnant.

In the meantime, if you are going to be sexually active within the first few months after your vasectomy, you'll need to use another method of birth control to prevent pregnancy.

sterility after vasectomy
Verywell / Hilary Allison

Recovery

Most men feel soreness around the testicular area for a few days after a vasectomy. Sex can increase the pain and may cause a delay in healing, or even an infection. In fact, during the first few days, you may need to take it easy and lie down, avoiding strenuous activity such as running or lifting.

During the first week after a vasectomy, you should expect to have a small wound near the scrotal skin where the vasectomy was done. You could have one or two small wounds depending on how your doctor did the procedure.

Placing ice packs on the groin area, with a towel to protect your skin, can help reduce the swelling. Wearing tight-fitting underwear or a jockstrap can help as well.

Call your doctor if you experience persistent or worsening pain, a high fever (over 100.4 F), a bloody or mucopurulent (pus) discharge, or increasing redness and swelling around the testicles or incision site.

Sex drive and erections should not be affected by a vasectomy, so you should not experience any changes in this regard. If you have concerns about either, mention it to your doctor so they can do a workup to identify any other potential causes of your symptoms.

It's important to talk to your doctor about these and other risks of the procedure. Even though vasectomy is considered permanent there is a 1 in 2,000 failure rate (which is still lower than other forms of birth control). Also 1% of men may have long-term feelings of congestion or pain in their testicles after a vasectomy.

Confirming Sterility

After you heal from your vasectomy, you will be able to have sex and ejaculate, but your procedure will not immediately provide pregnancy protection. The first 15 to 20 ejaculations you have after your vasectomy will still contain active sperm. It can take between eight and 16 weeks for you to become sterile.

Most doctors will get a semen analysis at the three-month mark to confirm sterility. In rare cases, you may still have semen in your ejaculate. If so, the doctor will likely repeat the test in a few months.

Semen Analysis

For your analysis, you will have to provide your doctor with a semen sample. You can do this by masturbating into a specimen container that your doctor's office provides.

You should avoid ejaculation for 24 to 72 hours before your collection, as sperm may decrease if you ejaculate multiple times within a few days, causing an inaccurate test result.

The test results are often considered more reliable if the semen is collected at the doctor's office because it can be taken to the lab immediately. You will be provided with a private space to ejaculate your semen.

You can masturbate into a specimen cup at home, but your semen must be kept at body temperature and delivered to the testing facility within 30 to 60 minutes. This fluid will then be examined under a microscope to see if there are any active sperm.

Sex Before Sterility Confirmation

If you have sexual intercourse before your sterility is confirmed by a semen analysis, use an alternative form of birth control (such as condoms) to avoid pregnancy. You can use condoms, or your partner can use oral contraceptives, an intrauterine device (IUD), or a diaphragm. All of these require some planning ahead, of course.

A Word From Verywell

While waiting to have sex after a vasectomy may be frustrating to you, it can be important for your healing as well as the ultimate goal of pregnancy prevention.

Know, though, that a vasectomy does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you are at risk of getting an STD or giving your partner one, you need to use a barrier method of protection.

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