How Penile Cancer Affects Sexuality

Hi Readers! 

This week’s topic is Penile cancer. We will focus on penile cancer’s impacts on sexuality. For all other information on this subject, please visit the Orchid Cancer Appeal’s website (www.orchid-cancer.org.uk). If you or someone you know if affected by penile cancer, call the Orchid Free National Helpline on 0808 802 0010 to speak to a specialist nurse. You can also email on helpline@orchid-cancer.org.uk. They also have a great virtual support group for individuals living with penile cancer.

Most of the information in this article today is from Orchid Cancer Appeal.

Penile cancer is a very sensitive subject. It affects over 600 people a year in the UK. You can appreciate that depending on the type of treatment an individual may undergo, it will affect them in different ways. 

Treatment may have an effect not only on their body but their self-image and self-esteem as it can affect a person’s appearance and how they feel about themselves. For some individuals living with penile cancer, sexuality may not be an issue but for others it is. It is important that the person and their partner understand the issues around treatment of penile cancer to better understand the impacts it can have on their sexuality. This will help communication within the couple and finding solutions together. You can read our article about communication here.

No matter the treatment an individuals opts for, it will take some time for them to adjust to the appearance of their penis. Some men may feel “less of a man” and worry that they will not be able to fulfil their partner’s sexual needs like they used to before the diagnosis. One of the most difficult issues following surgery is how the treatment will affect the appearance of the penis and its function during sexual intercourse. 

It is important for people living with penile cancer to practice self-care and self-love; understanding what masculinity means and not focusing on a single body part is very important. Masculinity is not defined by genitals.

There are many ways to maintain and restore a sex life between partners. Do not limit yourself to intercourse (penetration); be creative! Be affectionate, hug, kiss, caress, take a bath together, massage your partner, use adult toys and accessories, etc. Exploring your erogenous zones will also help with the development of new ideas. 

The Couple’s Intimacy Workbook we created will help you to do this!   

Be kind to one another

Julia, Sexologist