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“How do I talk to my doctor about sex? They are so awkward but I really need professional advice. Who else can I speak to?”

Cancer nurse Beth says...

It can be difficult to start a discussion about sex. Prepare before you talk – who do you need to talk to? Is it the doctor or a nurse or another professional? Write it down and practice. Talk about this at the beginning of appointment to ensure that time is left for this. Don’t worry about using the correct medical technology – they’ll know what you mean. If you don’t understand what they have said make sure you ask them to explain. Not all medical professionals have every answer – but DO ASK as they’ll have a responsibility to get back to you even if it means getting help elsewhere.

Sex toy expert Renee says...

We’re sorry to say many health professionals don’t feel comfortable talking about sex. Bring a list of questions and if your doctor is unable to answer, ask if they can recommend someone more able.

The team at Sh! aren’t doctors, but they know about sex, so you can always contact them for open and honest advice.

Patient advocate Elvin says...

Practice the questions you wish to ask by asking them to a trusted friend who you talk to on a regular basis about personal and sensitive subjects.

Better still, try with a friend who you regularly chat with about your respective sex lives. Their answers and advice are unimportant, you just need practice in asking these questions out loud and responding to them.

Alongside these ‘practice conversations’, please experiment with ‘mental dummy runs’ i.e. play over in your mind having those conversations with your doctor, even down to how you think they might respond and how you continue the conversation. Also, ensure during these practice conversations and mental dummy runs that you look, sound and portray the feelings of a highly confident and likeable person, coming to terms with their cancer journey.

Have faith in yourself, you’ll be fine. Practice makes perfect.