Intimacy during Treatment | American Lung Association

Location Select your location

Intimacy during Treatment

COPD can make many activities challenging, including being intimate. You and your partner may have questions and concerns about sexual activity. Here are some suggestions.

  • Plan time for intimacy when you are rested.
  • Experiment with other activities that are intimate, but require less movement and exertion such as caressing, hugging, massage and manual stimulation.
  • Experiment with positions that require less energy.
  • The partner who does not have COPD should make the majority of the movements.
  • If you use an inhaled medicine before exercise, ask your doctor about also using the inhaled medicine before sexual activity. Have your short-acting medicine available, if needed, during sexual activity.
  • Plan sexual activity when your long-acting medicine is at its peak.
  • Ask your doctor about increasing your oxygen flow rate during sexual activity.

Remember: Communication with your partner can ease many of your concerns about intimacy.

Caregiver Tip: If your partner has COPD, they might be self-conscious during intimacy. You may need to offer some reassurance that it is fine for him or her to use oxygen or to take more passive positions during intimacy.


    Approved by Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 11, 2016.

    Ask An Expert

    Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

    Get help
    We need your generous support

    Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

    What is LUNG FORCE?

    LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

    Get involved
    Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
    Donate Now.