Dealing with sexual problems

When you first think of restarting sexual activity, you may be afraid it will be painful, or that you will never reach orgasm again. Your first sessions of lovemaking may not be what you expected. But just as you learned to enjoy sex when you started having sex, you can relearn how to feel pleasure after cancer treatment. People often realize that their sex life was less than ideal before cancer and change their sexual practices. Try to make the most of this chance to look at your sex life in a new way.

The areas of your genitals most sensitive to touch may be a little different, or perhaps touch that felt good before cancer treatment is now painful. You might find your favorite position for intercourse has changed. If your vagina or vulva has been affected by surgery, you will need time to get used to the new feelings you have during sex.

The next topics detail some of the more common sexual problems and what you can do to manage them.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: August 29, 2013 Last Revised: August 29, 2013

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