Sex and intimacy for anyone with incurable ovarian cancer

If your ovarian cancer is no longer responding to treatment your wants for sex and intimacy can change. We help you find the right balance for you.

Having ovarian cancer can cause emotional and physical difficulties and changes to your body can affect your confidence. This can impact on your sexuality and sex life. It’s normal for your wants and needs for sex and intimacy to vary at this time.  

You might find you have an increased need for closeness or you may withdraw. Both of these feelings are natural. It’s important to find the right balance for you. You may find that talking your feelings over with your partner, friends or CNS is helpful.  

It’s still OK to have sex if you want to. If you’re finding sexual intercourse difficult, support is available. Sometimes simple changes such as a different position or being intimate at times when you’re not tired or in pain can help. You may find you need more lubrication during sex than you used to need. Some lubricants are available on prescription so ask your GP or CNS for advice about these. You should also be able to find a variety of lubricants quite easily on the shelves of the larger chemists. 

You may feel unhappy or worried about having sex. There are other ways to find sexual satisfaction that don’t include penetration (when the penis enters the vagina). Sexual intimacy without penetration can be very pleasurable and rewarding both physically and emotionally. It’s also not essential to have sexual intimacy to feel closeness to a partner. Intimacy is greater than just sexual intimacy, so you might prefer to spend time relaxing in, and enjoying your partner’s company. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time to find what works for you. 

Watch our relationships and intimacy session with Lynn Buckley, Psychosexual Therapist and CNS: 

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Last updated: May 2022

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