Changes in your sex life

It's important to remember that everyone is different. There is no right or wrong way to feel about your sexuality and sex life. How you feel sexually can change and grow.

We all have times in our life when we do not feel too confident about ourselves or don't feel very sexual. It can be difficult to communicate with the people close to you. These feelings won't last forever. It's possible to work on changing this and finding new ways to communicate your feelings to your loved ones.

It might help to get to know how your body normally works, to help you understand how things might change if you have cancer.


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. 

Talking about sex

Try talking to your partner about these feelings. It’s hard for them to understand unless you explain how you feel.

You will both gradually get used to your new situation if you are able to talk to your partner about your worries. A caring and loving partner can help to ease your concerns.

A few people have difficulty in speaking after surgery for some types of salivary gland cancer and this can affect your lovemaking. These difficulties are usually temporary and most people are able to talk normally within a few weeks after treatment.

Speech difficulties can affect your self esteem. Talking is not necessary during many sexual situations. Eye contact and touching are very powerful ways of showing your feelings.

If you feel nervous about starting your sex life again, try not to worry. You probably just need more time to come to terms with all that has happened to you. If you are still worried, anxious or depressed, you are not likely to feel like having sex. Give yourself more time. And talk things over with your partner. Together you should be able to work out what is best for you both.

Support and information

You may find it helps to talk to your nurse or doctor about difficulties with your sex life after treatment. They can refer you for specialist help if needed.

Last reviewed: 
01 Nov 2019
  • Cancer and its management (7th edition)
    J Tobias and D Hochhauser
    Wiley - Blackwell 2015

  • Woman Cancer Sex

    A Katz

    Hygeia Media, 2009

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