Just as physical symptoms, such as loss of weight, pain and fatigue, can affect your sexual responses, so too can emotions, such as embarrassment over changes in your body and worry about whether your partner finds you attractive.
If you are finding sex uncomfortable, for any reason, some techniques, therapies, medications or counselling may help. It is also important to remind yourself that intimacy is not just about intercourse. Touching, cuddling, kissing, caressing and spending time together are also important in expressing love and affection.
Some people feel that their doctor is reluctant to discuss sexuality. Don’t let that stop you. Your sexuality is likely to be crucial to how you feel about yourself and your life, so seek all the advice you need. Your doctor may be able to help with physical matters and, if they do not have the answers to emotional concerns, they will refer you to someone who may, such as a social worker, psychologist or counsellor.
Talking about your feelings, concerns and anxieties helps your partner both understand and, hopefully, help. Even if sex itself is off the agenda, warmth, closeness and intimacy are just as important.
Life, Hope & Reality was developed and written by Afaf Girgis, Claire Johnson, and Sylvie Lambert with funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Council NSW.Last updated 30 August 2015