What if cancer patients got together to design their own sex shop?

Sex with Cancer is a patient-led initiative that uses art and enterprise to hold a public conversation about illness and intimacy.

We want a world where people living with and beyond cancer can access advice and information about sex without shame, and with an eye to pleasure, fun and connection.

Sex with Cancer aims to be the go-to resource for people living with or beyond cancer, and for their admirers – those who love them, who care for them, who are hot for them.

Finding solutions to common problems

Here’s how it works. First, we gather your questions about sex with cancer. 

Then, we ask our Steering Group for responses to your most common concerns from a variety of perspectives. 

Finally, we link to sources of information, advice and recommended products. In doing so, we hope we can support you to make decisions that feel good! 

Here’s an example:

“Ever since I started Tamoxifen, I have experienced intense vaginal dryness, so sex can be painful. What can I do?”

Your Title Goes Here

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Sexual health doctor Ali says...

Medicines, such as Tamoxifen, change the way oestrogen works in your body and this can lead to vaginal dryness during sex, even if you’re feeling really aroused in your brain. (There may be other reasons you are finding it difficult to feel any arousal- this is really common too).

I would recommend that everyone uses lubricant with sex (especially if you feel a bit dry) and vaginal moisturisers can be really helpful too. Think also what ‘sex’ means to you (more than ‘penis in vagina’ sex) and try to focus on what you enjoy, not what you currently can’t do, due to pain (sex therapy may help with this).

Please also see your doctor as you may benefit from topical oestrogen cream (this can sometimes be given despite you being on tamoxifen post-breast cancer).

Cancer nurse Beth says...

Hormone changes are the most common cause of vaginal pain after cancer treatment. Vaginal dryness can occur after the menopause. This may be a natural menopause or early menopause that can be brought on by specific treatments such as Tamoxifen. The membranes of the vagina become thinner, lose elasticity and produce less lubricating fluid due to a decrease in estrogen levels. However, this is normal so don’t worry – there are things that can help.

Using a good water based lubricant (free from perfumes, colouring, flavourings etc) can really help reduce friction and pain during sex and intimacy. Vaginal moisturisers such as Hyalofemme or Replens can also provide relief from dryness and discomfort regardless of sexual activity.

Sex toy expert Ky says...

Lube! It’s the most liberating sensual accessory anyone can own, and I recommend it to literally everybody – wherever they are in their sexual journey.

A dollop of lube doesn’t just make everything deliciously slip-slidey in/on bodies. It takes away stress about ‘not being wet enough’. It’s important to tackle painful penetrative sex worries, otherwise your body can get into a circle of worry > tense muscles > pain > tense muscles > worry…

Embracing lube as your friend (rather than a foe, because of your treatment) is key to enjoying and exploring the fabulous sensuality it brings to all and every type of sexual play. 

Founders Brian & Joon Lynn say...

Dryness is something we know distresses many people and makes them super uncomfortable.

It’s also a particularly annoying problem because people with breast cancer often take tamoxifen for multiple years, hence not a problem which is temporary or goes away. 

Our key takeaways from professionals and patients:

1. Invest in a lube that’s good and that works with your chemistry (you might have to try a few)

2. Try to remember that there are more ways of having fulfilling sex than just penetrative vaginal sex. Take your time to explore touching, holding, licking and anything else. 

3. If penetration is uncomfortable but you miss the feeling of someone on top of you, try using an Ohnut (which Sh! sells), which provides more control over depth of penetration, and Tengas (which Sh! also sells) which you can put between your legs, so that you can feel a partner’s weight, and they can feel something that feels like you, without the pressure or painful rubbing.

Submit a Question

“I’ve had serious erectile dysfunction ever since starting cancer treatment, and it’s making me depressed. What can I do?”

“The person I am dating is exhausted from their long course of treatment. How do we navigate how and when to be intimate?”

Everyone has a different body, a different diagnosis and treatment course. And different pleasures, passions and kinks.

Your questions will inform everything we do – from the advice and products we offer to the business model and language we use.

We will only understand what is needed when we have as many of your questions as possible.

No worry is too small, no concern too individual, no question too niche.

(If you’re a medical professional, please submit common questions from your patients.)

Shop for Products


Sex with Cancer is proud to partner with pleasure pioneers Sh! to supply recommended products. Every purchase will support this unique initiative. 

25ml bottle of Sex with Cancer lubricant for sale

Small bottle of lubricant (25ml)

£3.00

Resources

The full Sex with Cancer website will launch in Spring 2021. 

In the meantime, here are a list of organisations offering support to people affected by cancer.

About Us 


Sex with Cancer has been conceived by friends, artists and former cancer patients Brian Lobel and Joon Lynn Goh in dialogue with a Steering Group of community activists, creative thinkers and professionals across sex, sexual health and cancer care.  

Together Brian and Joon Lynn bring an interest in exploring changing and changed bodies; creating community owned assets; and finding practical solutions for pleasure and enjoyment. 

As Joon Lynn underwent treatment for breast cancer at St Barts Hospital, London in 2018, she and Brian would often meet up. Their conversations, rooted in care and friendship, grew into exploring the provocation: ‘What would a resource and sex shop run by cancer patients and their admirers look like?’

Many months and conversations later, Sex with Cancer was born.

Brian Lobel, co-founder
Joon Lynn Goh, co-founder