Sexual health and dementia

Sexual health is an important part of a healthy sex life. If you or your partner has dementia, you still need to consider the benefits and risks to keep you both healthy.

How can we be sexually active and healthy after a dementia diagnosis?

There are many health benefits to having sex, such as lower stress levels, improved self-esteem and positive emotional bonding with your partner.

People of all ages who are sexually active are at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Many people with STIs do not have any visible symptoms. Good hygiene and using barrier protection (such as condoms) can help to avoid the risk of infection for both partners during sex.

If you and your partner are in a new relationship, or in a long-term relationship but haven’t had a discussion about safe sex, then it is a good idea to talk about it. You can speak to your GP, or you can find information and advice on safe sex from health centres and the NHS website.

Can we be sexually active if we have other health problems?

Some health problems and medications can affect sex in other ways. For example, joint pain or arthritis can make sexual activity difficult or painful. A physiotherapist may be able to suggest ways to make things more comfortable.

Sexual activity may also not be advised for a person who has had a recent operation, or a heart attack or other health issue. Their consultant will be able to give advice on this, and may suggest waiting a certain amount of time after treatment before having sex.