Prostate cancer and sex - it's time we all talked about it

Lorraine GroverThis Valentine's week sees us launch our new booklet Prostate cancer and your sex life, and the DVD which comes with it - where six men talk about their own experiences of this very personal subject. 

Order the new booklet with DVD.

Here, Lorraine Grover, a psychosexual nurse therapist at The London Clinic, explains why it's important for us all to be more open about talking about sex.

No sex please, we're British.

Sex is everywhere. As much as we Brits present a fa├žade of prudery, sex is an undeniable part of our culture. The Beatles sang All you need is love, while advertisers sex up everything from bras to cars.

Yet still we strive to avoid the unavoidable, and in the process, belittle sexual problems despite the huge impact they can have. We shouldn't avoid discussing sex any longer; we have to break free from this taboo.

We all strive to find love in our lives at some point, usually accompanied by some form of sexual intimacy. Even without a partner, feeling sexy has a positive effect on our mood and how we feel about ourselves.

Given this, it's surprising how difficult we find it to talk about, even within the intimacy of a relationship. And we're like this as a society too - we don't say what we think about sex, so we often ignore sexual difficulties, or don't give them the priority they deserve.

When illnesses such as prostate cancer affect our sex lives, the changes can be extremely distressing. It's not only the physical effects, but also changes in sexual identity which can have an impact.

The stigma of talking about sex is a real barrier to information. Lots of men don't know about the solutions that might be available. And they are unlikely to ask for the help they deserve if they think they're facing it alone.

Prostate Cancer UK and the Sexual Advice Association are determined to overcome the old fashioned idea, 'we don't talk about sex'. On the contrary, discussing sex is the only way to improve support and care and to make sure that no-one is left alone to suffer physically or emotionally. Knowing how and where to find help is a key part of breaking this destructive taboo.

Watch the Prostate Cancer UK videos and read more about prostate cancer and your sex life.

You can also email or call the Prostate Cancer UK Specialist Nurses on the confidential helpline.

Lorraine is a trustee of the Sexual Advice Association which provides detailed information on treatments for erection problems on their website or through their helpline on 0207 486 7262.