Maintaining a Sex Life through Cancer Treatments

Maintaining a Sex Life through Cancer Treatments

There are many forms of cancer that require chemotherapy. And while cancer most definitely is not something that anyone wants to face, life goes on. Many women with cancer often find themselves wondering if they can have sex through chemotherapy. Cancer, of course, is not transmitted sexually, so it makes perfect sense that having sex should be completely safe. There is some concern that chemotherapy drugs might be passed through secretions from the vagina, so it’s advised for a barrier method of contraception to be used when having sex while receiving your treatments. Any of the following qualify as barrier methods:

  • Diaphragm
  • Cervical shield
  • Cervical cap
  • Both male and female condom
  • Spermicidal foam

It’s only during the actual week of treatment that protection will need to be worn because the treatment leaves the body after about seven days. Once treatment has stopped and a week has passed, sex without protection is okay, however, once another treatment is started, using protection for a week is recommended. Even when taking part in oral sex, protection should be worn during the week of treatments. Though you may not want to use protection during the weeks that there isn’t any supposed risk, you should still be cautious because you won’t want to get pregnant. Women who are pregnant and taking chemotherapy treatments are at risk for harming the fetus.

There is no one size fits all symptom list in regards to how your sex life will be affected by having cancer. Some people report absolutely no changes in their sex drive. Others state that due to being tired and losing weight, they notice their sex drive is decreased. And then there are even some people who report an enhanced sex drive.

If you can’t work up the energy to have sex, there are still other intimate activities that you and your partner can take part in, including massaging, holding hands, kissing and much more. The most important thing to remember is that talking with your partner about your sexual desires and concerns is a must, especially when you have cancer.


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