For patients, caregivers and family members of the CTCA Community
Sex and Intimacy After Cancer Treatment

If you or a loved one experiences difficulties with sex after a cancer diagnosis, you are not alone. Cancer and cancer treatments can impact anyone’s desire, arousal and overall sexual wellness.

Feeling close to another person—enjoying physical pleasure and emotional intimacy—can play a huge role in your overall quality of life. Your care team can help resolve the physical and emotional concerns that stand in the way of a satisfying sexual relationship.

Common sexual concerns

Cancer treatment can cause a wide range of responses from your body and mind that affect your sexual relationships:

  • Many women experience low libido or sexual desire. Fatigue and changes in your body image—along with the mental stress of living with cancer— can reduce your sexual motivation. Another common problem is painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness or thinning of the vaginal wall.
  • For men, erectile dysfunction is the top issue—from trouble maintaining an erection to the inability to achieve one. Men also have concerns about low libido, changes in orgasm or ejaculation, and changes in their body and self-image.

Solutions for satisfaction

If you and your partner enjoyed an intimate relationship before cancer, you will probably be able to enjoy sex again. 

Your care team can connect you with a health care provider trained in sexual wellness and support who can help you and your partner address your sexual concerns. He or she may also identify other health issues—such as diabetes, hypertension, depression or anxiety—that could contribute to your problems, or recommend further evaluation by a urologist, gynecologist or endocrinologist.

And the Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) Survivorship Support team is always available to patients and caregivers, to help cultivate solutions for reclaiming both physical comfort and emotional satisfaction. 

Finally, visit our Intimacy Forum to see what other members have to say about sex and intimacy after cancer treatment. You can ask any questions you may have in a private, anonymous environment.

You may be interested in these resources:

Follow-up appointments are not all tests and doctor visits—they are about your complete wellness.


Naturopathic medicine uses natural, non-toxic therapies to treat the whole person and encourage the self-healing process.