Questions for your doctor about sexuality

Some people find it difficult to bring up the topic of sexuality with their health professionals. You may find this checklist helpful when thinking about how to get the conversation started. If your doctor seems reluctant to talk about the issues, ask for a referral to someone who can more freely discuss sexual matters with you.


  • How will this treatment affect me sexually?
  • What can be done to preserve sexual functioning and pleasure?
  • How will this treatment affect my hormones?
  • Will this treatment affect my fertility? What can I do about it?
  • What changes are likely in the short term and longer term?
  • Are any changes permanent?
  • If the changes are temporary, how long will I experience them?
  • What treatment options are available to help with sexual issues after cancer?
  • When is it safe to have sex again?
  • When can I expect to feel like, or enjoy, having sex or being
    intimate again?
  • How soon can I masturbate, have oral sex or sexual intercourse?
  • What sort of problems might we experience during intercourse?
  • It hurts when we have intercourse. What can we do about this?
  • Should we take any precautions when having sex?
  • What kind of contraception should I use and for how long?
  • If I’ve had a sexually transmitted infection, will it come back with chemotherapy?
  • Can I have children?
  • I am having trouble feeling confident about my body and reaching orgasm. Will it always be like this?
  • I’m afraid I can’t satisfy my partner any more. What can I do?
  • Sex doesn’t feel the same as it used to. What can I do?
  • Is there anything I should be careful about when I have sex?
  • Will the cancer come back if I have sex?
  • Can I give cancer to my partner if we have sex?
  • Are there any complementary therapies I could try? Are there any over-the-counter products I should avoid?
  • Can you refer me to a sexual therapist?

Men only

  • Why can’t I get an erection?
  • How long will it be before I can get an erection again?
  • What are the options if I can’t get an erection?
  • Why don’t I ejaculate anymore?

Women only

  • Will I still experience the same sexual sensations after having
    this treatment?
  • Would hormone replacement therapy be necessary or beneficial?
  • I have vaginal dryness. What do you recommend?
  • Is it safe to use an oestrogen cream?
  • How can I stretch my vagina?
  • How can I manage the symptoms of menopause?

This information was last reviewed in May 2016
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Support services

Coping with cancer?
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Rekindle – relationships after cancer
Personalised online resource addressing sexual concerns for all adults, whether in a relationship or single

 

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Understanding your rights as a patient
What you can reasonably expect of your health professionals

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