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Hip Surgery Offers Unexpected Bonus: Better Sex

Want better sex? Consider getting a new hip or knee.

Before Mary Ann Oklesson, a Manhattan magazine publisher, had both hips replaced a few years ago, the pain of arthritis made it difficult to walk, exercise or even climb into a taxi. Her failing hips had also taken a toll on her sex life.

“Sex was somewhat painful,” said Oklesson, now in her early 60s. “You have to be more cautious. If I had to pick my leg up to put it in a cab, you can imagine what sex was like. I just wasn’t quite as nimble.”

But all that changed after hip replacement surgery. “It definitely improved my quality of life, and my love life,” she says.

While researchers have long known that hip and knee replacement leads to less pain and improved mobility, new research shows that the surgery offers an unexpected bonus in the bedroom. Among 147 patients who had joint replacement surgery in New York, most said arthritis had interfered with their sex lives, according to research presented last month at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. After surgery, 81 percent of those patients who had said their sex lives had suffered as a result of a bad joint reported that the frequency of sexual activity had increased.

Many reported an increase in libido and stamina and an improvement in their ability to climax. The benefits were especially pronounced among patients whose complaint had been failing hips, as well as women, who reported the most discomfort during sex because of painful joints.

“If achieving a position in sexual function is very uncomfortable, it’s unlikely to be fruitful in terms of achieving climax,” said Dr. José A. Rodriguez, director of the Center for Joint Preservation and Reconstruction at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and lead author of the study. “It’s like walking around with a rock in your shoe. It’s just not fun…”

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