Loss of desire

While it may not be a problem for some people, changes in sex drive or interest (low libido) is common during cancer treatment.

There are many reasons why your libido might change, including:

  • treatment side effects such as feeling tired and sick
  • being too worried about the cancer to think about sex
  • fear of pain during intercourse
  • changes in your hormone levels after treatment
  • loss of confidence and self-esteem as treatment may have changed the way you look.

Most people find that their libido returns when treatment ends, but keep in mind that hormone levels also change with age and you may notice a gradual decrease in sex drive as you get older.

Adjusting to changes in sex drive can be emotionally and physically challenging for people with cancer and their partners. If you feel you need further support or ideas on how to help your relationship get through this stressful time, consider talking to a counsellor, sexual health physician or sex therapist. Speak to your doctor or call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for contacts in your local area.

Tips for when your libido is low

  • Discuss changes to your libido with your partner so they understand how you’re feeling and don’t feel rejected.
  • Make it a priority to spend time with your partner. Arrange a “date” or even a weekend away.
  • Enjoy other physical contact with your partner without having sexual intercourse to maintain intimacy. Try skin-to-skin touch, such as massaging each other or having a bath together.
  • Suggest a quick, gentle lovemaking session rather than a long session.
  • Create a sensual mood with soft lights and music, and dress in something that makes you feel sexy. These things may help you get in the mood for sexual activity.
  • Keep an open mind. Read an erotic story, watch an erotic movie or explore the range of adult products that are available (e.g. personal lubricants and sex toys like dildos and vibrators). These may help spark your interest in sex or your partner can satisfy themselves, either alone or with you present.
  • Stimulate yourself so you become aware of how you like to be touched.
  • If your usual sexual positions have become uncomfortable experiment with different ones to find something that feels better.
  • Use cushions or pillows to support your weight.
  • Change the venue. If you and your partner have been coping with the side effects of treatment at home, book a night away or try using rooms in the house that are not associated with cancer.
  • Rearrange the bedroom furniture or think about redecorating once your treatment is over.
  • Ask your doctor about having a hormonal assessment to check your hormone levels.

   — David

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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


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 2019
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