Suggestions for Coping with Cancer and Intimacy
- Write love notes or simple messages in an email to remind your partner how much you love and appreciate him or her.
- If needed, take medication for pain or nausea 30 to 60 minutes before intimacy. Some drugs for nausea and pain may interfere with sexual performance. Ask your oncology team about side effects, and, if needed, possible alternatives or dosing options.
- Talk with your oncology team about using lubricants or other aids to make intercourse more comfortable. Some treatments may cause vaginal dryness.
- Take a warm shower or bath to help relax your body.
- Take a nap before intercourse to help you feel less tired.
- Set the mood: Light candles and play music.
- Take your time: Appreciate and enjoy each other and the gift of being able to be fully open and intimate with one another.
- Talk with your partner about your wants and feelings to help you both understand each other. You may not be interested in sex but still feel obligated. You may want to speak with an oncology social worker or counselor, either by yourself or as a couple.
- Download or order The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s free fact sheet, Sexuality and Intimacy.