Handling changes to your sex life after treatment

The impact of prostate cancer and treatment on your sex life can be dramatic and upsetting. You might feel angry, upset, confused or numb. Or, you might suddenly feel like a teenager again, figuring things out and wanting to experiment with new ways of being sexual.

These changes can affect your body, mind and relationships. It’s normal to have different feelings. Open communication with your partner and being prepared will help you manage these challenges and get back on track.

Coping with changes
after treatment

Your body can go through many changes from prostate cancer and treatment. Allow yourself to feel the emotions; don’t hold it in. Bottling up your feelings can sometimes make you feel worse.

Here are some strategies to keep in mind, as you work through recovery.

  • Find trusted people to support you.

  • Talk about how you feel.

  • Do not be afraid to share feelings of grief.

  • Stay active and engaged in your usual activities.

  • Stay connected with your partner (if you have one) through affection and activities you enjoy.

  • Give yourself permission to focus on the pleasure of touch, and not as much on performance.

  • Remember that sex is about more than an erection.

Starting the
conversation

Over time, you'll begin to accept that things aren’t exactly the same as before. The feelings of grief will fade, and telling someone how you’re feeling will really help you through. This could be a partner, a close friend or a counsellor.

If you're not sure how to talk about your thoughts, here are some ways to start the conversation:

"I know I don't always explain how I'm feeling, so I wanted to take a moment now."
"I know cancer is affecting us differently, so l wanted to know how you felt."
"Some of what I’m going through may be obvious, but there's a lot of stuff I don't talk about."

Keep in mind, although you (and a partner) will experience a change to your sex life after treatment, there are many ways to work towards satisfaction. The impact of these side effects can be challenging but it's important to remember that sexual pleasure and intimacy can still be enjoyed.

What's next?

Now that you've read up on Handling changes to your sex life after treatment, here are some related articles to explore as you continue to build your knowledge and understanding of this topic.
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