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J Health Psychol. 2002 May;7(3):303-16. doi: 10.1177/1359105302007003223.

Sexual dysfunction and the preservation of manhood: experiences of men with prostate cancer.

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Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre, Canada.


This study explored the experiences of men living with sexual dysfunction as a consequence of having been treated for prostate cancer. An ethnoculturally diverse sample of 18 men (14 heterosexual, and four homosexual) participated in a series of four to five in-depth interviews. These one-on-one interviews were designed to elicit information pertaining to their beliefs, values and performances regarding masculinity vis-a-vis prostate cancer and its treatment. Interview transcripts were analyzed using the grounded theory method. The core category of 'Preserving Manhood' incorporated five major themes: enhancing the odds; disrupting a core performance; baring an invisible stigma; effortful-mechanical sex; and working around the loss. We conclude that men's performances of sexuality and masculinity were highly interwoven; that loss of sexual functioning constituted a focal disruption for participants; and in some instances, posed a significant threat to their masculine identities.

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