Resuming Sexual Activity After Prostate Cancer

Sexual function can be affected by prostate cancer treatment, but patients can take steps to improve their sexual health.

Published Jun 20 2023 3 min read

Prostate cancer is a common form of cancer that affects men. Its treatment often results in sexual-related side effects, including erectile dysfunction and decreased sex drive. These side effects can significantly impact the patient's quality of life. 

If you are wondering when you can have sex, this article is for you. 

Factors affecting sexual function after prostate cancer treatment 

The prostate gland plays an essential role in sexual function in men. It produces a fluid that helps transport sperm during ejaculation. Treatment for prostate cancer can damage the nerves and blood vessels that control erectile function, leading to sexual side effects. The degree of sexual dysfunction depends on several factors, including: 

  • The type of treatment received (surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, or a combination of these) 
  • The patient's age and overall health 
  • The patient's sexual function before treatment 

Sexual function can improve over time after treatment, but it may take months or years for some men to regain their sexual function fully. 

When can you have sex after prostate cancer treatment? 

The timeline for resuming sexual activity after treatment varies from patient to patient. You should consult your doctor to avoid any damage or complications. Below are estimates of when you can have sex based on the treatment you got. 

  • Surgery: Patients who undergo surgery to remove the prostate gland typically need to wait four to six weeks before resuming sexual activity. This period allows the body to heal and reduces the risk of complications. You may experience decreased sexual function after surgery, including erectile dysfunction and decreased sex drive. 
  • Radiation therapy: If you receive radiation therapy, you may experience fatigue and other side effects that can affect sexual function. The timeline for resuming sexual activity varies, depending on your response to treatment. Some may be able to resume sexual activity within a few weeks of completing treatment, while others may need to wait several months. 
  • Hormone therapy: This is often used to treat cancer that has spread to other body parts. This treatment can reduce testosterone levels, leading to decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction. Patients may be able to have sex during hormone therapy, but it may be more challenging to achieve an erection. 
  • Combination therapy: Some patients receive a combination of treatments for prostate cancer, such as surgery followed by radiation therapy. The timeline for resuming sexual activity after combination therapy depends on the type and extent of treatment. 

Using sex toys after prostate cancer treatment 

Sex toys can be a helpful tool for patients who experience sexual dysfunction after prostate cancer treatment. Many types of sex toys are available that can help patients achieve and maintain an erection. 

One of the most common ones is vacuum pumps. They use suction to draw blood into the penis, creating an erection. They are helpful for patients who have difficulty achieving an erection on their own. 

You should consult your doctor about what kind of sex toys you can use before using them. Some types may not be suitable for patients with certain medical conditions. 

Conclusion 

Sexual function can be affected by prostate cancer treatment, but patients can take steps to improve their sexual health. The timeline for resuming sexual activity after prostate cancer treatment varies, depending on several factors. 

Patients should discuss the timing of sexual activity and ask which sex toys they can use with their doctor to avoid complications. It may be awkward, but working with them will help you regain your quality of life after prostate cancer treatment. 


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