Cancer & Its Impact on Sexuality

The physical and psychosocial consequences of cancer and its treatment may have an influence on your sexuality.

In terms of the physical factors, you may experience hair-loss, nausea, tiredness, pain and diarrhea due to the treatment.  Additionally, the treatment has an effect on erectile functioning in men and seems to decrease vaginal lubrication, increase hot flashes, and may give frequent urinary tract infections in women. These physical factors may in turn impact your sexuality.

Then the treatment and the cancer can have a negative impact on psychosocial factors. You may feel depressed, angry, and irritable and you may experience mood swings.  Additionally, it can have a negative effect on your body image and can lower your self-esteem. It is also common for relationship dynamics to change. All these factors again can impact your sexuality.

Some common sexual difficulties that arise after treatment include:

  • Cancer & Impact on SexualityReduced desire/libido
  • Impaired sexual arousal
  • Inability to reach orgasm
  • Sexual discomfort
  • Decreased sexual satisfaction
  • Discontinued sexual relations
  • Reduced intimacy
  • Reduced well being & quality of life

Some common worries after cancer treatment:

  • You may feel embarrassment about physical changes, such as hair loss, scars, stoma and bodily changes
  • You may be concerned that your partner won't find you attractive anymore
  • You may be worried that your partner can catch cancer from you - NOT TRUE
  • You may feel anxious about your sexual performance.
  • You may feel less attractive
  • You may be worried about explaining the situation to a new partner



Sex therapy and Relationship Counselling is available in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW) -  Melbourne, Victoria (VIC) -  Adalaide, South Australia (SA) -  Perth, Western Australia (WA) - Darwin, Northern Territories (NT) -  Hobart, Tasmania (TAS) - Brisbane, Queensland (QLD) - Canberra, Australian Capital territory (ACT)


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