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Sex and cancer





A diagnosis of cancer is devastating for everyone involved. What follows is a period of invasive treatments, anxiety and emotional and relationship turmoil.

How do you maintain sexual intimacy? 

Most couples experienced enjoyable sex lives before the diagnosis and although it’s understandable that sex take a back seat during the early stages of treatment, it shouldn’t be absent. Lack of continued sexual intimacy can occur when partners are unwilling to broach the subject because their only concern is your welfare. It can also be that you are feeling less physically attractive because of hair loss or other side effects from treatment.

Unfortunately many doctors put the focus on treating the cancer and overlook the couples desire to preserve sexual intimacy. 

Perhaps sex was something that just happened naturally in your relationship and you never talked about your sexual needs with each other. This is in fact very common. Talking to your doctor, psychologist, couples therapist or a sexologist can be an effective way of improving communication so that you can both be sexually fulfilled.

Sexual intimacy for most couples is an important part of the relationship bond and maintaining that bond is even more important at this time. Unfortunately as a consequence of the cancer and the treatment(s) it will now require more creativity and some adjustment to achieve enjoyable sex, but it is possible. Talk to your doctor about the options available to keep the intimacy strong in your relationship and check with your specialist to make sure there are no medical reasons for you not to enjoy oral, manual or penetrative sex.

Remember the more sex you have the longer you’ll live.




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