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Testicular Cancer: Coping with Effects on Sexuality

Couple lying on bed looking at each other

Treatment for testicular cancer can lead to changes in sexual function. Treatment can also change how your genital area looks. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about how cancer or its treatment has affected your sexuality. There are often ways to help.

Whether these changes are short-term or long lasting, you can find ways to feel good about yourself and to be intimate with your partner. Remember to be patient and give yourself time. Be creative. Ideas include:

  • Focus on your physical recovery. This includes diet, rest, and activities.

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about maintaining or resuming sexual activity.

  • If you have a partner, include your partner in discussions.

  • Choose a time when you and you partner are rested and free from distractions.

  • Create a romantic mood.

  • Try different positions until you find one that is most comfortable for you and your partner.

  • Use pain medicines, if needed.

  • Remember that cancer is not contagious.

  • Remember that being intimate will not stimulate the cancer to come back or grow.

  • Remember that your partner is also affected by your cancer. Talk about both of your feelings and fears.

  • Keep an open mind about learning new ways to have sexual pleasure for you and your partner.

  • Clear communication with your partner and doctor are key to feeling good about sexual intimacy even with the changes cancer may cause.

  • Remember, it can be normal, at least for a time, to lose the desire for sex during and after cancer treatment. 

  • Explore different ways of expressing love. This might be hugging and holding, stroking and caressing, or talking.

  • Find humor where you can.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Alteri, Richard, MD
  • MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician