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Cult Health Sex. 2013;15(8):881-95. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2013.789129. Epub 2013 May 8.

Men's experiences of sexuality after cancer: a material discursive intra-psychic approach.

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a Centre for Health Research , University of Western Sydney , Sydney , Australia.


Men can experience significant changes to their sexuality following the onset of cancer. However, research on men's sexuality post-cancer has focused almost exclusively on those with prostate and testicular cancer, despite evidence that the diagnosis and treatment for most cancers can impact on men's sexuality. This Australian qualitative study explores the experiences of changes to sexuality for 21 men across a range of cancer types and stages, sexual orientations and relationship contexts. Semi-structured interviews were analysed with theoretical thematic analysis guided by a material discursive intra-psychic approach, recognising the materiality of sexual changes, men's intrapsychic experience of such changes within a relational context and the influence of the discursive construction of masculine sexuality. Material changes included erectile difficulty, decreased desire, and difficulty with orgasm. The use of medical aids to minimise the impact of erectile difficulties was shaped by discursive constructions of 'normal' masculine sexuality. The majority of men reported accepting the changes to their sexuality post-cancer and normalised them as part of the natural ageing process. Men's relationship status and context played a key role managing the changes to their sexuality. We conclude by discussing the implications for clinical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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