Managing sexual changes – men only

As well as general sexual issues experienced by both men and women after cancer, men may encounter problems with erections and ejaculation.

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Erection problems

When a man has trouble getting or keeping an erection firm enough for intercourse, it is called erectile dysfunction (or impotence). For many men, erection problems are a result of anxiety about the cancer, but sometimes cancer treatment damages the nerves.

Erectile dysfunction can sometimes improve. There are also many products to treat the problem, including penile injections, penile implants and PDE5 inhibitor drugs (e.g. Cialis® or Viagra®), which you can obtain through a doctor. There are also herbal preparations, nasal sprays and lozenges that contain testosterone, but check with your treatment team before using any of these.

Tips for managing erection problems

  • Try sex with a half-erect penis. Men do not need a full erection to have an orgasm. This may work best with the partner on top guiding the penis inside.
  • Help satisfy your partner and yourself without using penetration. Experiment with all-over touching, oral sex, masturbation or sex aids.
  • Ask your doctor about taking tablets or having injections to help with erections.
  • Use a vacuum pump device, which draws blood into the penis to make it firm.
  • Consider having an implant surgically inserted into the penis. A pump is placed in the scrotum and squeezed when an erection is needed.
  • If your cancer specialists say it is safe to use with your type of cancer, you could consider testosterone replacement therapy. This may help if you have low testosterone levels.

Ejaculation and orgasm changes

Men who have had their prostate removed produce little or no semen. This means that they may have a dry orgasm, which can be quite a different sensation – some men say it does not feel as strong or long-lasting as an orgasm with semen, while others say it is more intense. They may also experience retrograde ejaculation, where the semen goes backwards towards the bladder, rather than forwards out of the penis. This is not dangerous or harmful.

In some cases after prostate surgery, men leak urine during orgasm. Premature ejaculation can also be a problem for men who are feeling anxious about their sex life.

Tips for adapting to orgasm changes

  • Talk to your partner about the issue. Even if you feel you ejaculate too quickly, your partner may be satisfied, especially after lots of foreplay. If you have no semen, explain why and that it doesn’t affect your enjoyment of sex.
  • Ejaculate often, perhaps by masturbating, to help control ejaculation and increase the amount of semen ejaculated.
  • To minimise urine leakage, empty your bladder before sex. Try wearing a condom to catch any leakage. Pelvic floor exercises can help improve bladder control.
  • To improve ejaculation control, explore medicines or numbing gels or talk to a sexual therapist about the stop-start technique.
  • Concentrate on enjoyment of sexual activity. Worrying about controlling your ejaculation may lead to erection problems or loss of interest in sex.


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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in May 2016
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