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Lots of things affect the way that we think about, feel and experience anything to do with sex, relationships and having children.
No two people are quite the same. Your views are likely to be affected by many things, including:
Having cancer and going through treatment| may affect your self-confidence. It can take a while before you’re ready to think about relationships, sex or having children. You may also have to adjust to changes in your situation due to having cancer. Some of the changes might be to your body and to your lifestyle, and others might be to the way that you think about yourself and your future, including becoming a parent. However you feel now, this may change over time.
For example, some people have a very strong desire to become a parent throughout their childhood and teens, while others don’t even think about it until they’re older.
Most young people growing up have thoughts and feelings about themselves in terms of sex and sexual attractiveness. As they develop personal relationships, some will also start to experiment sexually. Some people will already have had some sexual experiences by the time they’re diagnosed with cancer, but others won’t.
The changes that cancer and its treatment can make to the way your body looks or how it works may be hard to deal with. These changes may be temporary (for example losing your hair), or they can be permanent (such as having scars or losing a limb).
It can take a while to adjust to any changes, and you may worry that they’ll affect how attractive you are to others. Your feelings about your attractiveness to other people are also likely to be affected by your past experiences. Your confidence can be low while you recover from cancer and its treatment. This can make it difficult to feel aroused or excited by the thoughts of having sex or beginning a relationship. You might find it helpful to talk about your fears and anxieties with someone you trust.
It may also be useful to get some practical advice about ways of coping with body changes, for example the use of cosmetics to cover scars. It can be difficult to have this kind of conversation and you might feel embarrassed or self-conscious. But try to get the help you need, as it can really make a difference.
Content last reviewed: 1 June 2012
Next planned review: 2014
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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