- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Sexuality, intimacy and cancer
- Overcoming specific challenges
- Adapting to life after a brain tumour
Adapting to life after a brain tumour
As brain tumours do not directly affect sexual organs, you might not expect that your sexuality will be affected. But the brain is an important sexual organ responsible for sexual urges, thoughts and behaviours.
The areas of the brain most commonly involved in sexual functioning include the frontal, temporal and parietal lobe, and the pituitary gland. When these parts are injured, it can cause problems with behaviour, personality and social skills.
Common changes in sexuality after a brain tumour include:
- loss of libido or sexual drive
- inability to achieve or maintain an erection
- difficulty or inability to orgasm
- premature ejaculation
- talking a lot about sex or inappropriate touching (disinhibition)
- having an increased desire for sex (hypersexual)
- weakness in arm or leg, or slow and uncoordinated movements.
If you have become more uninhibited or hypersexual after surgery, you may find that your family and friends ask you to masturbate in private and not to make inappropriate sexual comments.
Helena Green, Clinical Sexologist and Counsellor, inSync for Life, WA; Anita Brown-Major, Occupational Therapist, Thrive Rehab, VIC; Karina Campbell, Consumer; Nicole Kinnane, Nurse Consultant, Gynae-oncology Services, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Jessica Medd, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Headway Health and Concord Hospital, NSW; Chris Rivett, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Kath Schubach, Urology Nurse Practitioner, President – Australia and New Zealand Urological Nurses Society (ANZUNS), VIC; Prof Jane Ussher, Chair, Women’s Health Psychology, Translational Health Research Institute (THRI), School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, NSW; Maria Voukelatos, Consumer. We would like to thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.