Sexual Health and Intimacy

Prostate cancer is oftentimes called a ‘couple’s disease’ because of the dramatic effects it can have on a couple’s intimate life. Patients may not express much interest in having sex after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.1 Treatment options like hormone therapy or radical prostatectomy can cause short and or long term side-effects during and after treatment such as incontinence, erectile dysfunction, or loss in libido. These side-effects can cause negative psychological effects on prostate cancer patients, causing a loss of intimacy between couples.2


Changes in sexual intimacy will affect every relationship differently; however, reassuring your partner that you love and value them can alleviate some of their psychological distress. 

A study conducted on prostate cancer patients in Tauranga, New Zealand, revealed that partners reaffirming them of their value helped decrease their anxieties and negative emotions related to the consequences of their illness.

Redefining sexual and intimate roles

Embarrassment, a lost sense of masculinity and anxiety can cause prostate cancer patients to shy away from sex. Fortunately, there are many resources that provide information regarding sexual intimacy while having prostate cancer.

Resources and information regarding sexual health and intimacy

Cancer research UK – Sex and prostate cancer – An informative guide on the effects prostate cancer treatment has on sexual intimacy. 

His prostate cancer – Sex after prostate cancer – Articles, resources, and tips on sexual recovery after prostate cancer treatment.

YANA – Why men with prostate cancer often make better lovers – Guidelines and recommendations on relationships based on the experiences of prostate cancer survivors.

Resources on sexual health and intimacy for gay, bisexual and pansexual men

Prostate cancer UK – Facts for gay and bisexual men – Addresses specific questions and concerns that are unique to gay and bisexual men living with prostate cancer

Prostate cancer UK – Exploring the needs of gay and bisexual men dealing with prostate cancer – An in-depth report looking at some of the challenges gay and bisexual men face when dealing with prostate cancer

A dance with cancer”: A 5-part film on YouTube created by the Canadian Cancer Society that explores the real-life experiences of several Canadian gay men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer.


  2. Grant, Charles H., Joy L. Hart, and Kandi L. Walker. “Couples, Culture and Cancer.” Diss. East Carolina U and U of Louisville, 2005. IAICS Journal 14.3 (2005): 83-91. International Association for Intercultural Communication Studies.