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Sex and intimacy after cervical cancer

A cervical cancer diagnosis can affect every aspect of your life, with sex, intimacy and relationships being among the most difficult to talk about. When we surveyed women and people with a cervix, over 6 in 10 (67%) of them had experienced a change to their sex life after cervical cancer treatment. 

It’s important to know that there is no right or wrong way to feel about sex and intimacy after cervical cancer. Regardless of your age, gender, sexual orientation or relationship status, being diagnosed with cervical cancer may have changed how you feel about dating, relationships, sexual intimacy and your own body. 

The impact of coronavirus and lockdown may also have added an extra layer of difficulty to romantic and sexual relationships recently. If you’ve been shielding you may feel especially isolated, or you and your partner may have had a lot to juggle between you in recent months. If you’re single, social distancing measures have made it a particularly strange time to think about dating again. 

Remember that whatever you’re feeling right now is totally normal. Some women and people with a cervix will be eager to get back to their usual sex life as quickly as possible after treatment, while for others sex and intimacy won’t feel like a priority. Either of these responses, and anything in between, is fine. Take your recovery at your own pace and don’t feel under any pressure to be sexual again before you’re ready. And, if you are ready for intimacy, remember that there are lots of other ways to be intimate without having sex.

If you’re struggling with sex and intimacy after cervical cancer, there is information, help and support available. The support you need will depend on your individual situation – whether you’re single, in a relationship or dating someone new – and whether you’re struggling with physical or emotional aspects of intimacy, or both.

Blogs and stories

Read our blogs and stories about how cervical cancer can affect sex and intimacy.

Mary blogs about sex and finding the perfect dilator after cervical cancer treatment.

A secialist physiotherapist shares her tips for using dilators properly.

Nicole shares how her partner supported her after her diagnosis.

Hannah balances a cervical cancer diagnosis with a new relationship.

Joanna talks about dating with the effects of treatment.

Laura explains why there's no need to be ashamed of HPV.


Our videos feature experts and our community explaining the effects of cervical cancer treatment, as well as tips for managing the impact on sex and relationships.

Date last updated: 
28 Oct 2020
Date due for review: 
28 Oct 2023
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