While there are reports of a few men getting long-term pain in the scrotum, the vast majority of men who have had a vasectomy do not notice any difference at all, including when they’re having sex.
When can you get back in the game?
You can have sex as soon as you feel comfortable after a vasectomy but your scrotum may feel tender for a couple of weeks. Some doctors recommend that you wait for a week until the surgery has completely healed before resuming sexual activity.
Talking to men who have had a vasectomy, it seems the overwhelming experience is a short duration of discomfort but no other concerns about having had a vasectomy. When asked about how they felt after having a vasectomy the responses included "Felt back to normal after a few days", "Great we don't have to think about contraception any more" and "Hasn't made any difference to our sex life".
The response from their partners is also mainly positive and relief that contraception is taken care of without any more need to think about it. Some of the comments from partners of men after vasectomies included "Definitely hasn't reduced his sex drive", "Glad to see the back of contraception" and "We had sex a few days after the vasectomy and didn't seem to cause him any problems".
It takes time before a vasectomy provides effective contraception. Until it has been confirmed that your semen is free of sperm, you should continue to use another form of contraception.
You will need to continue to use condoms or any other method of contraception for up to three months after surgery as it will take this long for any remaining sperm to be cleared out of your tubes. It takes an average of 20-30 ejaculations to clear the tubes of sperm. You will need to use another method of contraception until you have had two semen tests confirming that no sperm are still present.
Can having a vasectomy affect your sex drive?
There is no evidence that having a vasectomy has any effect on sex drive. After a successful vasectomy, your testicles will continue to produce the male hormone (testosterone) just as they did before the procedure.
Testosterone plays an important role in maintaining your sex drive (libido). Your sex drive, sensation and ability to have an erection won’t be affected by having had a vasectomy.
If you notice a drop in sex drive after vasectomy then you should talk to your doctor. The drop in your sex drive may be due to other factors rather than the vasectomy. Examples of possible other factors include feeling very tired all the time, stress, drinking too much alcohol, or taking certain medications, such as an SSRI antidepressant or certain blood pressure medicines (for example, beta-blockers).
Can a vasectomy cause low testosterone?
There is no clinical reason why testosterone production should be affected by having a vasectomy.
Although there are a number of reports of men having a reduced sex drive and other symptoms of a low testosterone after a vasectomy, there is no strong evidence that there is any link between having a vasectomy and a low testosterone level.
Other symptoms of a low testosterone level include feeling tired, difficulty concentrating, increased difficulty having erections, reduced physical and mental performance, sleep disturbance and reduced body hair. Many of the symptoms of low testosterone are general and not specific, and therefore may be caused by other problems such as feeling depressed or being very stressed.
Although some men notice some of the symptoms of a low testosterone and have a blood test which shows a low testosterone level after a vasectomy, it may well be that the low testosterone level is due to a completely unrelated reason and has nothing to do with the vasectomy.
Low testosterone levels caused by a reduction in production by the testes (hypogonadism) increases with age. The European Male Ageing Study (EMAS) reported that hypogonadism affects about 1 in 50 men aged between 40 and 79 years. Many reports claim that low testosterone levels are much more common than this in the 40- to 79-year age group. Hypogonadism is even more common in men with certain conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease, or if you're taking certain medications, including steroids.
Therefore if you feel you might have symptoms of a low testosterone level it’s worth seeing your doctor to get it checked out - but it’s very likely that it will have nothing to do with having a vasectomy.