5 mental health tips to improve your sex life after prostate cancer

Close up of two men standing close and facing each other

As you cope with prostate cancer and all the changes to your sex life, you may feel overwhelmed, sad, or even angry. It may feel like all you think about is your diagnosis and the challenges of sexual recovery. This is totally normal and understandable, it’s a lot on your plate.

And all the more reason why it’s important to look after your mental wellbeing as well as your physical recovery after prostate cancer surgery. In fact, taking care of your mental health is good for your overall health, including your sex life.

Here are some mental health tips you can build into your daily life to remind you that you’re more than your diagnosis. We’ll share 5 tips just for you, and 5 you can try with a partner.

Remember: by taking care of your mind, you’re doing one of the best things you can do for your recovery.

5 Ways to care for your own mental health

Continue to connect with people around you

Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and your community — actively maintaining these and possibly building new connections will support and enrich you every day. You could consider joining a support group, either in-person or online. Go at your own pace and the level of socialization you’re comfortable with.

Stay active after prostate cancer

Physical activity can boost your mood. Get outside. Go for a walk or run, or take part in a sport. Choose an activity you enjoy and that suits you and your current level of fitness.

Take notice of the world around you.

Pause, breathe, and take a moment to look around you. Think about what you feel, see, and smell. Look for new, unusual, or extraordinary things in your everyday life. Find a park, or take a short trip to the beach, a nearby river or creek.

Keep learning

Don’t be afraid to try something new. Rediscover an old hobby or take up a new one. Set a challenge you will enjoy. Choose something that stretches you, while still being achievable. As well as being fun, learning new things can improve your confidence, which has a direct impact on mental health.

Give to someone else (acts of kindness).

Do something nice for a friend or a stranger — even a small gesture can feel good. Thank someone, smile, volunteer your time if you can, or join a community group. Donate to a cause you care about. Whatever you do, it’s important to look out as well as in. Seeing yourself as part of the wider community can be rewarding.

Five icons representing 'connect', 'be active', 'take notice', 'give' and 'keep learning'.

5 ways to care for your mental health as a couple:

Going through prostate cancer treatment as a couple can strain even the strongest relationship. Here are some ideas to help you nurture your couple connection and care for your mental health together.

Connect beyond sex

Make time to connect in everyday ways, beyond just the physical. Watch your favorite movie together, get dinner at a restaurant you love, take a walk together, or look at photos from when you first started dating. Remember the things you love to do together and what you love about each other.

Stay active together

Whether it’s taking walks, playing tennis or pickle ball, or even trying a dance class, getting active as a couple can help relieve stress, improve energy and mood (for both of you), and help you connect in a low-pressure way.

Notice each other

When was the last time you looked at your partner? Really looked?

Take time to notice something about them that you love. Maybe it’s their smile, their eyes, the sound of their voice or something else entirely. But don’t just notice. Share it with them. Tell them face to face or write it in a note. It can help strengthen your relationship.

Try something new as a couple.

Maybe you’ve never gone kayaking together. Maybe you want to try baking or cooking new dishes. Whatever it is, trying new things as a couple gives you a chance to laugh, learn and be vulnerable or inexperienced together in an enjoyable, low-stakes environment.

Give of yourself, no strings attached.

Do something nice for your partner without expecting anything in return. Giving of yourself as a reward in and of itself. Research shows that doing acts of kindness can actually boost your own mood, self-esteem, compassion, and optimism.