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How difficult is it to deal with sex and intimacy when receiving treatment?

Having cancer is mentally and physically draining. So when going through treatment the sex & intimacy with your partner can decrease. its of course at times impossible for certain periods after treatment to even consider whether you could have sex. My first 4 months after diagnosis were filled with 2 operations to remove tumours. after the first operation it took me 4 weeks to recover, or so I thought. At that point after the 4 weeks, me and my wife attempted to have sex, which turned out to be very painful for me. This of course can leave your partner feeling fearful of trying or contemplating having any intimacy with you, because they fear leaving you in pain. As a male I found that whilst having treatment and in recovery post any procedure, I became very weary of having any sex or intimacy. For a while I never considered how my wife felt about the lack of intimacy between us and my wife welcomed the conversation when I asked her how she felt. It turned out that although I was suffering, my wife too was emotionally suffering because of the 'intimate' distance my cancer created between us. What I didn't realise being a typical man, is that a kiss and a cuddle can go a long way. The sex will come in time, which it did, and I've been trying my best to be intimate with my wife whenever I'm having treatment. I'm now nine months into my cancer journey and I'm more aware of how I will be feeling during treatments and what my recovery times will be. I'm also now aware of when sex with my wife will be satisfying for both of us. It does take time and getting used too, but the sex & intimacy will get better, so long as you both work at it and try to understand each others needs and fears.
Noel, Team Member

  1. great post.. Something not talked about enough. I was the patient but can confirm a cuddle means so much and is very intimate. Laura, Moderator,

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