- Sex and Men With Cancer: Overview
- How a man’s body works
- Keeping your sex life going despite cancer treatment
- How cancer treatments affect your sex life
- Surgery and sex
- Radiation and sex
- Chemotherapy (chemo) and sex
- Hormone treatment and sex
- Mental and emotional effects of cancer treatment
- Fathering children and cancer treatment
- Dealing with sexual problems after cancer treatment
- The single man and cancer
- Frequently asked questions about sex and cancer
- Finding professional help for sexual problems during and after cancer treatment
- To learn more about other topics related to sex and cancer
Chemotherapy (chemo) and sex
Most men getting chemo still have normal erections. But a few have problems. Erections and desire often drop right after getting chemo but return in a week or so.
Men who have had high doses of chemo followed by a stem cell transplant are more likely to have a long-lasting loss of testosterone. In some cases, testosterone replacement may be needed to regain desire and erections.
Chemo rarely affects ejaculation. But some drugs might damage the nerves that control it. The semen may shoot back into the bladder instead of out through the penis.
Other problems from chemo that may affect your sex life
If a man has had genital herpes or genital warts in the past, chemo might cause them to flare up again. If you have any signs of genital infection, see your doctor right away. Infections can be serious because chemo can weaken your immune system. This makes it harder for you to fight infections.
You’ll also want to avoid getting new infections from sex partners. If you’re having sex with someone you’re not sure about, practice safer sex. The safest way to have sex is to use condoms every time, from start to finish. Whether you have oral sex (using the mouth), anal sex (entering the rectum), or vaginal sex, condoms can lower your risk of sexual infections.
For more about safer sex, contact the American Sexual Health Association (see the “To learn more about other topics related to sex and cancer” section).
Last Medical Review: 08/28/2014
Last Revised: 09/23/2014