Sex after hormone therapy for prostate cancer
Common sexual changes to expect
after hormone therapy
Take a look at the Body, Mind and Relationships diagram below for a deeper understanding.
Coping with cancer and sexual challenges with a partner, or your feelings about starting a new one.
Treatment can damage the nerves and blood supply needed for erections.
Cancer and sexual challenges following treatment can make you feel down and anxious, changing your feelings about sex.
Click on the list below to see
the most common changes
following hormone therapy.
After treatment, reaching orgasm takes longer, but it's still possible for most men. You might find:
your orgasm feels different now than before treatment
you produce less semen during and after treatment
you can still orgasm, but it may feel less intense
Even without an erection, it is still possible to reach orgasm and enjoy sex
Iain, 48 years
Sometimes the penis can shorten because of the lower levels of male hormones caused by hormone therapy. And if you go a long time without having any erections, this can cause some scarring of the tissues in your penis, which can cause shortening. On top of that, because the testicles aren't producing testosterone, they might get smaller.
These changes may have been unexpected for you, but know that there are ways to reduce shrinkage and help get full erections.
For example, there's an erectile aid called a ‘vacuum pump’ or 'penis pump' which may help to reduce shrinkage. This may stretch the tissue and help maintain your penis size.
Gary, 69 years
Because of the way hormone therapy affects your body, many men experience difficulties with their erections and sex drive.
How soon after treatment does this start?
Within six weeks of treatment, many men experience problems with their erection. If your hormone therapy is short-term, you may see recovery of erections about six months after stopping treatment. For long-term hormone therapy, difficulty in getting a hard erection may be permanent.
How can I maintain a satisfying sex life?
Even though you'll need to adjust to changes to your body, you can still have a satisfactory sex life. If you're comfortable, you can:
How can I maintain a satisfying sex life list
try medication and erectile aids to help get a firmer erection
keep your penis active during hormone therapy to help with erections after treatment
adapt your role and expand your routine in the bedroom to cope with these changes
Starting to think about other ways to get pleasure will help you on this journey.
- Gary, 69 year
Changes like weight gain, breast swelling and hot flushes are common side-effects of hormone therapy.
There are things that can help:
wear loose cotton clothing and reduce alcohol – this may help with hot flushes
being patient with yourself if you do gain weight, as it may take a while to lose the extra weight
staying physically active
Trevor, 68 years
Hormone therapy is likely to cause this tiredness. Fatigue can come on quite suddenly and can affect your energy levels, motivation and emotions.
There are things you can do to help:
plan your sexual activities ahead, in a part of the day when you have more energy
research shows that regular exercise, even if you feel tired, can help with fatigue
remember that this tiredness is normal and will ease after treatment stops
Patrick, 72 years
Coping with sexual changes
Many individuals say that after having prostate cancer and treatment, they initially struggled with sexual changes. And after working through these changes, although their sex life is different, they now feel satisfied with their ‘new’ sex life.