Tips for getting back to sex after cancer treatment

  • Try not to let embarrassment get in the way
  • Take it slowly at first:
  • Try just touching first
  • Stop when you experience pain
  • Let your partner know what feels good
  • Plan ahead. Choosing a good time for sex can help deal with pain and fatigue, as well as build arousal.
  • Be patient. You will probably find that problems get better with time and practice.
  • Use sexual fantasies to distract you from negative thoughts about yourself, pain or fears about performance.
  • Don't be too disappointed if you don't reach full orgasm at first. Try again.
  • Talk to a sexual counselor if things aren't working out.

Tips for when you do NOT have a partner

Finding a new partner can seem daunting:

  • Try not to let this stop you from socializing
  • Take small steps to start with
  • Don't be hard on yourself!

 It can be difficult to tell people that you've had a breast or testis removed, or a stoma:

  • You may want to wait until you feel it could develop into a relationship before sharing the information.
  • Try practicing what to say beforehand.
  • You could show them any physical changes before any sexual activity so you can both get used to how that makes you feel.

 If a new relationship doesn't work out:

  • Don't automatically blame the cancer
  • Remember that not every relationship worked out before you had cancer.

Tips for Partners

Partners play an important role in intimacy and sexuality after the cancer diagnosis and its treatment. There are several things partners can do:

  • Let your partner know that you love them and still find them attractive.
  • Remind yourself of other qualities you find attractive, like their sense of humor, intelligence and personality
  • Go at their pace. Be patient and show understanding.
  • Give yourself time to adjust
  • Cancer & Sexuality TipsTalk to your partner and ask them:
    • When they feel ready for sex
    • What feels good for them
  • What are their fears
  • Show love and attraction in other ways:
    • Touching
    • Holding
    • Hugging
    • Massaging
  • Remember, cancer can't be passed from person to person through sex.
  • Remember that even though treatment has finished you and your partner may still feel low and drained
  • Talk to a counselor if you are having a hard time understanding your own or your partners' feelings



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