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What About Sex? (Part 2)

Authors note: This is the second part of a two-part series. Here we discuss ways to improve the sex life of couples dealing with bloodcancer. Check out What About Sex? (Part 1).

When blood cancer enters our lives he’s not only with us during the day. Every night he joins in for a most unwanted threesome. Sexual intimacy is an important part of the love shared by couples but blood cancer can make their most private, intimate moments challenging.

Physical, psychological, and emotional issues such as sexual dysfunction, fear, depression, axiety, and financial worries can reduce interest in sex.

Strategies to turn up the heat in the sheets

So what’s to be done? Can a couple be intimate when one partner has blood cancer? Here are a few suggestions on how to keep the spark alive:


We human beings are sexual creatures. Our sense of self-worth is often tied up in our ability to perform sexually. Feelings of inadequacy or failure can develop if a woman experiences pain during intercourse and has to turn down her lover. A man can have these same feelings if he can’t achieve or maintain an erection.

It’s important that you don’t hide these feelings. A whole world of possibilities will open up once you communicate honestly. You’ll find new ways to make love and your confidence will return.

Working with fatigue

Fatigue can make just the thought of rolling in the hay exhausting. But there are ways around that. If the man is the one with blood cancer and the couple is used to the “missionary” position (with the man on top) the laws of physics requires him to expend the most energy. He might not have the stamina to do so.

A simple solution is to let her climb on top and take charge. Of course no matter which of you has blood cancer you can always experiment with more relaxing, less taxing positions such as lying on your sides either face to face or “spooning.”

Overcoming performance problems

Treatment side effects can lower your libido and cause erectile dysfunction in men or menopausal type symptoms in women. Help from your physician and a little creativity on your part can alleviate some of these issues.

Ultimately, sex is the expression of love. We can find many ways to do this even without intercourse.

Getting creative (making love without intercourse)

If you can get past shyness, self-stimulation (masturbation) while lying next to each other can be very gratifying. If your blood cancer is making you too tired you can still express your love by simply caressing your partner while she pleasures herself.

For many couples, oral sex can be just as satisfying as intercourse, even better for some. Just be sure to talk to your doctor first and use protection if you recently had chemo treatment. (See Part 1 of this series.)

Adult toys for both women and men can turn your sex life into a whole new adventure. And, if you both are comfortable with it, adult movies can add a little spice.

Focus on what really matters

Ultimately sex isn’t about any one way to make love. The essence of real, loving sex is the sharing of each other through touch. The way you find this is up to you.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Ann Harper moderator
    8 months ago

    Touch and intimacy are so important. Sexual gratification is as well, but for most, the cuddling before or after is important.

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