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Sexual Relationships and Testicular Cancer

Couple lying on bed looking at each other

Treatment for testicular cancer can lead to changes in sexual function or in the appearance of the genital area. Whether the changes you experience are short-term or long lasting, you can find ways to feel good about yourself and to be intimate with your partner. Remember to be patient and give yourself time. Be creative. Ideas include:

  • Focus on your physical recovery including diet, rest, and activities.

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about maintaining or resuming sexual activity.

  • If partnered, include your partner in discussions.

  • Choose a time when you and you partner are rested and free from distractions.

  • Create a romantic mood.

  • Try different positions until you find one that is most comfortable for you and your partner.

  • Use pain medications, if needed.

  • Remember that cancer is not contagious.

  • Remember that being intimate will not stimulate the cancer to come back or grow.

  • Remember that your partner is also affected by your cancer; talk about both of your feelings and fears.

  • Keep an open mind about learning new ways to achieve sexual pleasure for you and your partner.

  • Clear communication with your partner and doctor are key to maintaining satisfaction with sexual intimacy despite the changes cancer may cause.

  • Remember, it can be normal, at least for a time, to experience a lack of desire for sex during cancer treatment. 

  • Explore different ways of expressing love (hugging and holding, stroking and caressing, talking).

  • Find humor where you can.

When thinking about the effects cancer may have had on your sexuality, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How has my illness interfered with my role as partner or father?

  • How has my illness changed the way I see myself and feel about myself?

  • How has my illness affected my sexual functioning?


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