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:
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
- Talk 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:
- 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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