Understanding sexuality during your testicular cancer journey

Hi Readers! 

This week’s topic is testicular cancer. Specifically, how testicular cancer can affect your sexuality. For all other information about testicular cancer, please visit the Orchid Cancer Appeal’s website. You will be able to download all the information you may want or need. If you or someone you know is affected by testicular cancer, call the Orchid Free National Helpline on 0808 802 0010 to speak to a specialist nurse. You can also email helpline@orchid-cancer.org.uk The helpline is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00am to 5:30pm.

A lot of the information in today’s article is from Orchid Cancer Appeal.

Individuals who are affected by testicular cancer often have questions about their sexuality post treatment. Usually, removing a testicle will not affect the sexual performance of an individual or their ability to conceive children as the remaining testicle will produce enough testosterone and sperm to compensate, as long as it is healthy. 

If both testicles need to be removed, a testosterone replacement therapy will be needed. Testosterone replacement therapy is usually given in the form of injections or gels and should enable an individual with male anatomy to have sexual intercourse. Chemotherapy can cause temporary infertility that tends to persist for a (short) period of time after the treatment has finished. If you or a loved one is going through testicular cancer and its associated treatment, speak to the healthcare professional about options such as sperm storage or sperm banking. 

This is a great option for individuals who know they want a family as well as for those who are unsure. You will feel more at ease knowing that this is still an option.

Sexuality

A low libido is also a side effect of cancer and cancer treatment but the good news is a stable libido will return once treatment is over. Remember that intimacy is an important part of a couple’s sexuality. You can read more about intimacy here. If this is something you would like to explore, please see the self-help or the couple’s intimacy workbooks here

Talking about your concerns and fears of post treatment sexuality with your partner can feel uncomfortable, scary or timid. Communication within a couple is necessary. You cannot know what your partner is thinking if they do not tell you or you do not ask. Couples may find a new closeness after communicating. I invite you to read last week’s article about communication, if you haven’t already done so, by clicking here.

“One common fear is that cancer cells can be passed on to a partner during sex. This is not true. Cancer is not infectious and it is perfectly safe to have sexual intercourse” – Orchid Cancer Appeal.

For more information please visit www.orchid-cancer.org.uk and yourprivates.org.uk 

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

Julia, Sexologist Blog

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How Stress is Affecting your Sex Life

Hi Readers!

April is Stress Awareness Month. Started in 1992, this is a national campaign to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society. 

Dealing with stress can affect your sex life and relationships. When a stress is applied, the body must react and change in order to cope. It does this through a release of hormones, like cortisol and epinephrine, which can cause a decrease in you libido. There are also psychological effects, being stressed about a multitude of things can impact your mood and a busy mind can distract you from wanting sex and lower your libido. Stress can also affect your lifestyle; some people deal with stress by smoking, drinking, overeating, forgetting about self-care and exercise. These choices will influence how you feel about yourself and interfere with your sex life. 

If you suspect that life stress is putting a damper on your libido, the first thing you should consider  is stress management. Changing the way you perceive and digest the stress can help you manage it better. There are many known strategies for dealing with stress and anxiety to ensure they won’t have an impact on your sexuality: meditation, high intensity exercise, yoga, journaling, and aromatherapy are just a few examples.

It is also recommended that you look at the health of your relationships. If there are stress and conflicts within those relationships, it may have an impact on your libido. It is important that you are communicating with the other person in your relationship. Try to understand the challenges you face together rather than being against each other. Spoil alert! Blaming one another doesn’t get you anywhere and you won’t find a solution that way. Be conscious of how you are getting your argument/point of view across. Using “ I feel….” or “I would like…” rather than “you did this…” and “you are so…”  * stay tuned for next week’s article about communication to learn more. 

Pick up a hobby together. Exercising together can be a fun way of spending time together. Make time for each other during the week. Practice just being together, with no pressure to have sex. A lot of couples tend to put pressure on sexual intercourse, but sexuality and intimacy are so much more than that. Focus on sensations and experiences rather than focusing on sex. For example: hugging, mutual massages, taking a bath/shower together.

Practice self-care and self-esteem, they make a difference in your sex life. If you don’t feel good about yourself, it will transpire in your sexuality and you won’t feel like having sex and being intimate with your partner.  

Our Intimacy Self-Help workbook and our Couple’s Intimacy workbook are available to purchase. 

Our Guide to Self-Love workbook is available to purchase here

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

Julia, Sexologist Blog

Help us keep this blog going! There is so much more to come. You can also purchase self-help workbooks in our shop!

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Intimacy

Hi Readers! 

This week’s article is about intimacy and alternatives to sexual intercourse. In a world so focused on penetration, its important to explore what is beyond that. I’m sure you can find something amazing. 

Everyone lives their sexuality and intimacy in their own way, whichever way suits them best, however they feel comfortable. 

What does intimacy mean to you? (Yes, you need to answer this question now.)

How do you define intimacy? (Yessss, you need to answer this question, too.)

The concept of intimacy is defined in different ways. Sometimes, we think of intimacy as two people having sexual intercourse. Intimacy can be defined by nudity or solo sexual practices, like masturbation. For some, intimacy only refers to the sexual organs. 

For others, intimacy encompasses emotional proximity, sharing, self-revelation and specific experiences related to intimacy. Intimacy is about well-being, confidence in connection with affection, perception and cognitive state before, during and after the exchange of intimacy. This is what I want you to think about and figure out (if you haven’t explored it yet). 

Intimacy is a close, familiar and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.

Sexuality is one of the core elements of what it is to be human. When we speak of sexuality, we speak of biological sex, sexual identity, sexual roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is also expressed with thoughts, fantasies, beliefs, relationships, roles, practices, behaviour, and desires. 

What are alternatives to intercourse? 

– Being physically close and intimate  

– Touching, stroking, oral sex

– Kissing

– Massaging

– Talking

– Holdings hands, holding each other 

– Taking a bath together 

– Using sex toys and other accessories 

Communicate with yourself and/or your partner about your needs, fears, worries, feelings, what you like and what you don’t like. You may feel a little nervous at the start the conversation, but that’s okay. Your partner may feel the same way. Figure it out together, learn together. 

In early 2021, we will be publishing an intimacy course that you will be able to purchase if you are interested in diving deeper into the subject intimacy. We will explore the components of intimacy and skills to better integrate intimacy into your relationships. 

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist 

Julia, Sexologist Blog

We are here to help you grow. To improve, maintain and restore your sexual health. To help keep this blog going, any contribution will be helpful.

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