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Your sex life

How mouth and oropharyngeal cancer might affect your sex life and what can help.

Changes to your appearance may make you fell less confident about sex. It might change the way you feel about yourself and how you think others see you. Try talking to your partner about this. 

Talking things through with your partner might help you both adjust to a new situation together. Things might feel a little less awkward. 

How you might feel

Cancer can cause many different emotions such as fear and anger. 

These emotions might affect how you feel about sex. Your partner might also feel very strong emotions. 

It is very common to have difficulty with intimacy and sex after cancer treatment. You can consider:

  • talking things through with your partner 
  • talking to your doctor or specialist nurse
  • getting your GP to refer you to a counsellor 

Kissing

Some people's partners worry that they can catch cancer from others by kissing. But cancer can't be caught from somebody else. So you can reassure them. 

It is safe for you and your partner to kiss and have any type of physical contact that you feel comfortable with. 

Communication

Speech or communication difficulties might affect how you feel about sex. It might feel like more effort than before and it might change some of the spontaneous moments you and your partner are used to. 

Eye contact and touch might be alternative ways to show feelings if speech is difficult. 

Last reviewed: 
21 Jun 2016
  • Cancer and its management (7th edition)
    J Tobias and D Hochhauser 
    Wiley Blackwell, 2015

  • Head and Neck Cancer: Multidisciplinary Management Guidelines 4th edition

    British Association of Otorhinolaryngology, 2011

Information and help

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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.