- Cancer, sex, and sexuality
- How the male body works sexually
- Keeping your sex life going despite cancer treatment
- Erections and pelvic surgery to treat cancer
- Erections and pelvic radiation therapy
- Erections and chemotherapy
- Erections, desire, and hormone therapy
- Erections and the psychological effects of cancer treatment
- Ejaculation and cancer treatment
- Fertility and cancer treatment
- How common cancer treatments can affect sexuality and fertility
- Dealing with sexual problems
- Dealing with short-term problems
- Finding the cause of problems that appear to be permanent
- When is sexual counseling helpful?
- Is there a pill that will cure sexual problems?
- Is there a way to restore erections if the nerves or blood supply of the penis has been damaged?
- Methods to help with erections
- Can testosterone restore sexual functioning?
- What about herbs or natural cures for erection problems?
- Is there a way to make orgasms as intense as they used to be?
- Special aspects of some cancer treatments
- Feeling good about yourself and feeling good about sex
- Chemotherapy changes the way you look
- Changing negative thoughts
- Overcoming depression
- Dealing with grief and loss
- Rebuilding self-esteem
- Good communication: The key to building a successful sexual relationship
- Overcoming anxiety about sex
- Rekindling sexual interest
- Sexual activity with your partner
- The single man and cancer
- Men who have sex with men
- Frequently asked questions
- Professional help
- About the American Cancer Society
- Additional resources
Staying active is a good way to reduce stress and your risk of depression. Talk to your doctor about the kinds of exercise that are right for you. As long as you don’t overdo it, exercise can help you feel better and have more energy during and after treatment. You can also reduce the pain and nausea that some cancer treatments cause by learning skills to help you relax. Many relaxation methods can be learned from DVDs, videos, CDs, or books, but training by a mental health professional often works best.
If depression lasts more than a couple of weeks, talk to your doctor. What doctors call clinical depression has a number of symptoms. These include:
- Lack of interest in sex or other things that usually give you pleasure
- Being unable to feel pleasure at all
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes in eating habits (don’t count those that are due to chemo or cancer treatment)
- Fatigue or tiredness (don’t count tiredness from your cancer treatment)
- Trouble focusing your thoughts
- Feeling worthless and hopeless
Depression can be treated with medicine and sometimes other methods that may improve your sleep, appetite, energy, and ability to feel pleasure. In turn, this can help your self-esteem and desire for sex. Talk with your doctor if you think you might be depressed.
Keep in mind that some of the newer anti-depressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may cause trouble reaching orgasm. There are measures that can be taken to improve this possible side effect. If this is something that is a problem for you, talk to your doctor about it. There are other anti-depressants that may not have that effect on you.
Last Medical Review: 10/28/2011
Last Revised: 10/28/2011