- 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
Feeling attractive is just one part of your self-image. Wendy Schain, EdD, a psychologist who counsels men and women who have had cancer, describes self-esteem as a set of bank accounts.
- One account contains the net worth of your physical self – what your body can do and how you look.
- The second account is your social self – how easily you get along with others and the emotional support you can count on.
- The third account is the sum total of your achieving self – what you have done in school, work, and personal and family relationships.
- The fourth account is for your spiritual self – your religious, spiritual, and moral beliefs and the strength they lend you.
During your life you make deposits in your accounts, but when a crisis like cancer comes up, you must also make withdrawals. Going through cancer treatment has costs. It takes time, and may take away some of your physical ability to function. It can harm your relationships with others, your career goals, and sometimes your faith. When funds from one of your accounts become low, you may need a “loan” from one of the others to balance your account.
Try to be aware of the costs of cancer in your life. Make a special effort to get new deposits for the accounts that remain active. By doing so, a drain from one area of your self-worth will not bankrupt you entirely. If your cancer treatment has affected your looks, focus on the love and care you get from friends and family who respond to you on a deep level of intimacy. If treatment interrupts your work, use some of your energy to enrich your social or spiritual life.
Although you may sometimes feel that all your accounts are getting low, a more careful look can show some areas where “income” is still flowing in.
Last Medical Review: 10/28/2011
Last Revised: 10/28/2011