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How Does Cancer Affect Your Sex Life?

Learn how cancer affects your sex life from sex therapist Dr. Megan Fleming in this Howcast video about the psychology of sex.


So there is one thing I know having worked with many cancer survivors. It is that not only is the diagnosis and the treatment of cancer so difficult in and of itself, but it can often really change how you feel about your body and ultimately have significant sexual side effects. That may be due to chemotherapy or radiation or surgery depending on your cancer site. And I certainly can appreciate that you may be new to a diagnosis, undergoing treatment, or years into survival. Intimacy and physical connection with a partner is something you can have regardless of the treatment that you've been through. It's really an opportunity to reconnect with your body and explore new ways to feel pleasure that even when and if perhaps you no longer are experiencing orgasms or you're finding that you are not responsive physically sexually in terms of sensation. Perhaps you no longer can achieve erections or you've gone through menopause because of treatment. All of those may be true but the ability to still feel pleasurable sensual touch is something that we all get to experience. So I am inviting you and your partner to really take it slow and pace resumption of your physical intimacy. And use lots of words like 'I really like it when' and just explore the kinds of sensations and touch that give you both pleasure and ultimately in time you are going to resume a sex life that will be mutually satisfying.

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