A hysterectomy can relieve painful symptoms from fibroids, abnormal periods, or cancer. It’s natural for you to have questions about sexual health if you’re planning to have the surgery. This includes the ability to have future orgasms.

In short, research says a hysterectomy is unlikely to impair sexual function. However, your sexual response after the surgery will depend on what nerves and organs are affected during the surgery and what regions previously provided you sexual stimulation.

The G-spot is an elusive spot on the vaginal wall that some people swear holds the key to achieving orgasm. Anatomically, the G-spot isn’t a distinct part of the body.

In a small study, researchers couldn’t find it in physical exams of cadavers. Instead, they believe the highly sensitive spot located inside the vaginal wall is part of the clitoral network.

The clitoris is a pea-shaped nub that sits at the top of the inner labia. It’s often very sensitive. Like the G-spot, it can produce orgasms when stimulated. Researchers believe the clitoris is the tip of a series of nerve “roots” that extend into the vaginal canal and form the G-spot.

The good news is, if you’re having a hysterectomy, none of these roots or tissues are likely to be removed. If you achieved orgasm from G-spot stimulation before, you may still be able to after surgery.

However, sex after a hysterectomy does change. Here’s what you could anticipate.

The effects of a hysterectomy on sex depend on what nerves and organs are severed or removed during the procedure. It’s important that people who have a hysterectomy know about possible side effects of the surgery and what they can do to assess their needs and seek help when that’s necessary.

General effects

A hysterectomy is an intense surgery. Even with a minimally invasive hysterectomy, you’ll still need to recover for several weeks. If you have an abdominal hysterectomy, recovery will take a minimum of six to eight weeks.

In the short term, you’ll need to avoid penetration and sexual activity so the organs and incisions can heal. You may experience pain and bleeding in the first days after the surgery.

Long-term effects often depend on the type of hysterectomy you have. Different side effects are possible depending on which organs are removed.

The uterus can be sensitive during sex, so removing it may reduce or change sensation, according to research. That doesn’t mean you can’t still experience other forms of sexual sensation and achieve orgasm. Your approach just may need to change.

Effects following total hysterectomy (removal of cervix)

The cervix is sensitive to touch. Pressure from a penis, finger, or sex toy may feel good. Likewise, the uterus and cervix do contract during an orgasm. That contributes to the sensations experienced during climax.

Removing the entire uterus, including the cervix, may alter the quality or intensity of orgasm, but it shouldn’t permanently prevent it.

Effects following removal of ovaries

Ovaries produce testosterone and estrogen. These hormones are an integral part of your libido, or sex drive. They also produce natural lubrication in the vagina’s tissues. If your ovaries are removed as part of a hysterectomy, you’re more likely to experience long-term side effects.

These side effects include hot flashes and night sweats. Removing ovaries may also cause decreased sex drive and vaginal dryness.

Your doctor can prescribe hormonal treatment to ease these symptoms immediately following the surgery. You can also use a lubricant to ease dryness and make penetration more comfortable.

Positive effects

Research suggests a hysterectomy can actually improve sexual response and lead to a more robust sex life. That could be in part because the surgery may help relieve intense pain and heavy period bleeding. These are two factors that often prevent people from having a fulfilling sex life.

You can orgasm after a hysterectomy. For many people with a vagina, a hysterectomy won’t make orgasm during sexual activities more difficult. Indeed, nothing may change.

However, if the part of your anatomy that was most sensitive to stimulation is removed, such as the cervix, or nerves connected to the tissue or organ are severed during the surgery, your ability to orgasm may be affected.

Clitoral sensation shouldn’t be affected because of the surgery. This includes G-spot stimulation. These nerves aren’t typically removed and not severed.

If you enjoyed cervical penetration but your cervix is removed, you may find pleasure in clitoral stimulation.

Likewise, vaginal sensation may be reduced because of nerves that were severed during the surgery. But other forms of stimulation may be as invigorating and lead to orgasm.

While a hysterectomy is major surgery, the long-term effects are few.

People who have their ovaries removed during the procedure typically have the most long-term issues. Even those people, however, can still manage the side effects and enjoy a healthy, robust sex life with a doctor’s help.

What’s more, people who have a hysterectomy may have a healthier sense of well-being after surgery. This could improve both mental and physical health, which could lead to improved sexual health.

Most doctors and health organizations recommend people give their bodies six weeks to two months to properly heal after a hysterectomy.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends you don’t put anything in the vagina for six weeks following surgery. This includes tampons, fingers, and douching.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends waiting four to six weeks before putting anything in the vagina following abdominal surgery. They recommend three to four weeks of recovery for vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomies.

Before surgery, your doctor will discuss expectations and precautions you should take. When you’re given the all-clear for regular activity, still be mindful of the changes to your body. Ease back into activities, sexual or otherwise.

During your recovery, you’ll meet several times with your doctor or surgeon. At these appointments, be sure to discuss any side effects or issues you’re having.

After you’ve been cleared to return to normal activities, you may notice changes like dryness, problems with arousal, or loss of sensation during penetration. Regular sensation and natural lubrication may take some time to return after a hysterectomy. This is normal.

You can use water- or silicone-based lubricants to ease penetration. You could also use longer periods of foreplay to increase natural lubrication and arousal.

Give yourself a few weeks of regular activity to see if the issues resolve. If they don’t, make an appointment to see your doctor.

As your body is recovering from the surgery and you’re adapting to possible physical changes, you may experience some emotional changes as well. Some people experience feelings of being less attractive or less feminine after a hysterectomy.

If you feel this way or experience anxiety, sadness, or despair because of the surgery, seek help from a mental health professional. Your mental health is as important as your physical health.

Sex after a hysterectomy can be as enjoyable as it was before the surgery. You may even find it’s more enjoyable. These tips can help you adjust to changed sensations.

Try new positions

Without a uterus or cervix, sensation may be different during sex or orgasm. Experiment with new positions, toys, or other gadgets that might help you find better, more exhilarating stimulation.

Don’t rush

Give yourself some time to ease back into sex after you’re cleared to do so by your doctor.

Arousal and stimulation may not be as quick or robust as they were before surgery, but that doesn’t mean things will stay this way as your body continues to recover. Use longer foreplay to build up your body to presurgery stamina.

The same rules apply with masturbation. You may need to use different techniques or sex toys at first as you acclimate to any changes.

Be open

Talk to your partner about how your body feels and what you do or don’t like. Orgasm after hysterectomy is possible. Your sex life may be even better. It’s important you remain open about what you’re experiencing so the two of you can work together.

A hysterectomy shouldn’t affect G-spot sensations, but the surgery can lead to changes in stimulation and how you reach orgasm.

If you experience any problems with arousal, orgasm, or discomfort, talk with your doctor. Most of these effects are temporary and will improve. Experimenting with new positions or techniques may help as you get used to subtle changes in sensation and sexual response.