Even Cancer Patients Like Sex

by Amanda FerraroSurvivor, LeukemiaFebruary 7, 2021View more posts from Amanda Ferraro

I know this topic is peculiar to talk about but as an adult it is a natural occurrence. Let’s talk about sex!

I know you squirmed a little bit reading that and to be honest I am a little uncomfortable too, but I do not know why. Intercourse is natural however, when you have cancer it can be a weird topic to talk about. Is my significant other going to want to? Will it feel different? Will it hurt? Am I even up for it? These questions are just some of the ones I had during my cancer journey.

Just because I have cancer and I am bald, and frail does not mean that I do not want to have a little bit of affection and intimacy. But it can be weird to talk about with your significant other and ask your doctor about it. So, let us get started.

Usually when you are undergoing treatment your doctor will talk about sex with you. Depending on the type of treatment you are going through, there are different risks of being intimate with your partner when you are undergoing cancer treatment, so I would consult your doctor first.  Sometimes when you have just received treatment, your bodies risk factors may be higher. Depending on your gender your risk factor may be different. Since your body is weak, little things can take all the energy you have from you. You do have to be careful, but you still must live your life at the same time.

Sometime females may experience vaginal injuries because the lining of their vagina may thin due to having treatment. You also need to understand that all humans have germs and bacteria on and in their body, even sexual organs. So, if you are undergoing treatment for cancer, your body may have a hard time fighting off any germs your partner may be carrying. Some doctors recommend refraining from sexual activity while undergoing treatment. I would be open and honest with your doctor and do not be afraid to ask questions.

What do I say to my doctor?  Well for starters, I would be honest. Tell your doctor you feel that you are ready or that you want to try and have relations with your partner. It can be embarrassing to you, but doctors hear all kinds of silly things every day so do not be shy. They may even be able to give you suggestions.

When talking to your partner and telling them what you are feeling, it can feel a little weird.

Yes, even cancer patients get horny.

Talking about positions and how to be careful may be a great start.  Talk about the pace you want to go, let them know what you are and are not okay with. Talk about lubrication and how you feel about certain things. If you trust your partner, this conversation should be easy.

Sex is something that is natural, and it happens. Yes, as cancer patients we need to be careful but that does not mean having no fun at all.


All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at https://www.elephantsandtea.com/contact/submissions/.

To read more posts and articles about sex, check out Marloe Esch’s sexuality topics by clicking here.

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