Sex is different for everyone and this is especially true when dealing with testicular cancer and treatment. Some guys really want to get at it, others feel completely disinterested, and some are in between. If you’re eager to get back in the sack after treatment or sperm banking, hold your horses for a second. You’ll need to talk to your doctor to understand what’s OK to do and when it’s OK to do it.
If you’re given the OK by your doctor, make sure to use protection to guard yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the effects of treatment. Especially while your immunity levels are low, you don’t need to throw an infection into the mix. Any infection can be dangerous, and for people who are very sick it can be life threatening.
Using protection, like condoms or dental dams (for oral sex), not only guard against STIs, but they’ll help protect your partner from the effects of chemo and radiation.
While undergoing these treatments, it’s super important to use protection to prevent a partner getting pregnant — there can be some serious risks involved otherwise.
Talk to your doctor or nurse about this and ask how long you need to use protection with your partner.
As part of your testicular cancer treatment you may need to have a testicle removed (or in rare cases both). This can cause a lot of worry among men around whether or not it will affect their sex life.
The good news, generally, is that men who have one testicle removed go on to have totally normal sex lives. If both testicles are removed, there may be a reduction in testosterone which can potentially lead to low desire or erectile dysfunction (ED). For more guidance on what you can do and what treatments might help, talk to your doctor and they’ll be able to offer some options.
There are definitely reasons why testicular cancer can lower your sex drive.
First, cancer itself is no walk in the park. You know better than anyone some of the emotional hills that come with this journey. If your physical, mental and emotional health are not in the best space – it’s not surprising you’re not quite in the mood for action.
Second, some treatments can lower your testosterone. In some men, this can lead to a lower drive. On top of that, having anxiety or fear about treatment alone can put the brakes on things.
If you’re not really in the mood these days — but you’d like to be — bring it up with your doctor or nurse. No need to be embarrassed — they hear concerns like this all the time. Your team will hear you out and help you understand what you can do. As frustrating as it might be, it’s usually temporary. It’s normal to go through this for a little while, and your team is there to help you get back to where you want to be.