Can I Still Have an Orgasm During and After Prostate Cancer Treatment?

A Look at Sex With Prostate Cancer From Different Angles

How does prostate cancer treatment affect sex?. Tetra Images - Yuri Arcurs/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Is it possible to have an orgasm after prostate cancer?  How will prostate cancer treatment affect my sexuality?

The First Question: Can I Still Have an Orgasm After Prostate Cancer Treatment?

Yes!  Nearly all men will be able to have an orgasm following prostate cancer treatment. This is true even in most cases of erectile dysfunction.

The nerves and blood vessels that are most commonly damaged by prostate cancer treatments are very important for achieving an erection but are not very important for achieving orgasm.

Therefore, though there is the occasional man who may be unable to achieve orgasm after prostate cancer treatment, the vast majority will still have this sexual function.

It's important to note that the prostate is the gland that produces most of the fluid that makes up semen. Thus, once the prostate has been removed by surgery or destroyed by radiation, a man's orgasm will be nearly or completely dry.

Your Sex Life During and After Prostate Cancer Treatment

Sex after prostate cancer looms large in men's minds, but it can be hard to bring it to attention. Shouldn't you just be thrilled that you have a chance to beat cancer? Yet our sexuality is a very important part of our being. 

Will your sex life be the same? No. There will be changes. But that doesn't mean it will be worse. It could even be more pleasurable in time. It can help to break down how cancer affects a man's sexuality into 3 main areas: desire, erectile dysfunction, and orgasm.

Since we addressed orgasm up front, let's check out the other 2 areas.

Sexual Desire with Prostate Cancer

Desire plays an important part in the initiation of sex, as well as thought life even without sex. Yes, prostate cancer can affect desire in many ways. Some of these include:

  • Worry about performance.
  • The psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis.
  • Fatigue (which affects most people with cancer and is a side effect of most cancer treatments.)
  • Self-image after prostate surgery.
  • Fear of recurrence, progression, and death.
  • Low testosterone levels due to treatment.

Desire is more difficult to quantify than erection and less spoken of in general. Yet without this step, the others often go unaddressed as well. This is a good time for men to do something some men hesitate to do. Have a heart to heart with your partner and your doctor.

What is getting in the way of your desire? Is it fatigue? What can be delegated to someone else to allow you more time to dream? Are the emotions of cancer filling that place in your mind? Consider a support group - and if you don't feel like driving and sitting in a room with other men, there are some excellent online prostate cancer communities. Perhaps seeing a counselor would help? I've heard it argued that every single person could benefit from talking with a therapist duirng cancer treatment.

 Self image?  Many men are relieved to hear that their partners are very interested in helping - but may feel uncomfortable initiating the conversation. If it feels physical, talk to your doctor about coping.  Approaches such as sublingal oxytocin have helped some men, and other options are available.

Erection and Ejaculation

As noted above, ejaculation will be different after prostate cancer surgery, but that's not necessarily bad.  Erectile dysfunction (ED) is common for many reasons, but many options for erectile dysfunction are available. First, it's important to determine the causes. Some of these are avoidable. Some medications, such as a category of drugs known as SSRI's to treat depression can cause not only a loss of desire but also of ED. Are other options available? Certainly, some ED is unavoidable such as nerve damage from prostate cancer surgery and effects of hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy but many options exist such as oral medications, penile injections and implants, vacuum constriction devices, and more. Check out the newest ways to treat erectile dysfunction.

Bottom Line

It's true that it's likely you'll have some sexuality issues to cope with as you go through prostate cancer treatment and beyond, but just because things are different, doesn't mean it has to be any worse. It could even be better if it opens up lines of communication. After all, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, the most important physical sensation takes place far from your prostate -- between your ears. Orgasms after prostate cancer treatment are not only possible but the norm. Desire may take a hit, but often returns in the months following treatment, and may improve earlier if you address possible causes.  Erection concerns make take some creativity, but these too have many options.

The 5-year survival rate for prostate cancer overall is now 99%. You have a lot of living left to do, and your sexuality is an important part of that living.


American Cancer Society. How cancer treatment can affect ejaculation. Updated 08/19/13.

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