- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Sexuality, intimacy and cancer
- Overcoming specific challenges
It is common to feel tired and have no energy during and after cancer treatment. Your tiredness may continue for several weeks or months after treatment has finished, but this will vary from person to person. Fatigue can lead to a temporary loss of interest in sex and intimacy or you may need to take a less active role.
Tips for managing fatigue
- Regular light to moderate exercise has been shown to reduce fatigue. Even a walk around the block can help. An exercise physiologist or physiotherapist can suggest exercises that are right for you.
- Plan ahead. Rest before having sex.
- Use memories and fantasies to spark your interest.
- Spend time being affectionate with your partner – hugging, kissing and holding hands are all ways of feeling close to your partner when you’re too tired for sex.
- Try to be intimate at different times of the day.
- Speak to an occupational therapist about ways to manage your fatigue.
- Listen to our Managing Cancer Fatigue podcast.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
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.