What does it mean when you talk about sex?

  • It means much more than “having sex.” Having sex means sexual activity, such as vaginal, oral or anal sex and masturbation.
  • It means everything relating to your thoughts, feelings and experiences with sex. This is called sexuality.

Sexuality is a normal, healthy part of life.

What methods of birth control are safe? (male)

It is important to know that event though you may have been told that your treatment could affect your fertility, it is still possible to get your partner pregnant.

Protect yourself by using a latex condom with spermicide every time you have vaginal sex. Condoms also protect you from sexually transmitted infections.

If you have questions about birth control, talk with your oncologist.

Do I need to protect my partner or myself (male)?

Yes. If you are sexually active you need to take some precautions.

It is best to wait at least 72 hours before having sex to protect your partner from exposure to chemotherapy. This is the average time it takes for chemotherapy to leave your body.

Chemotherapy medications may damage sperm. The damage your sperm could cause serious birth defects if you get your partner pregnant. Use birth control to prevent pregnancy. Even if your partner is using birth control, we recommend that you use latex condoms as they can also protect you from sexually transmitted infections.

Decide on a method of birth control and have it ready, before having sex. Talk with you oncologist if you need help choosing a method of birth control.

If you have had many blood transfusions, you may worry about getting an infection and passing it to your partner. This is extremely unlikely to happen as all blood donors and donated blood are carefully tested.

One thing you don’t have to worry about is giving your partner cancer. Cancer cannot be passed from one person to another.

How long should I wait after chemo or radiation to have sex?

We recommend that you wait at least 72 hours after chemotherapy to have sex. This is the average time it takes for the chemo to leave your system. Having sex sooner could expose your partner to the effects of chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy does not linger in the body, so there is no risk to your partner. You do not have to wait.

What level should my neuts be to have sex?

Your Absolute Neutrophil Count (also called ANC neutrophils, neuts. Granulocytes or grans) should be at least “1” before having sex. This includes all sexual activity such as masturbating, vaginal, oral or anal sex.

ANC (neuts or grans) reported in different ways

In conversation we may say:

“1”

 

=

On test results you will see:

1 x 109/L

 

=

You may read:

1,000 or

 1 x 103/microliter

 

Why? Because any sexual activity can spread germs and may cause infections. Neuts are white blood cells that fight germs and can prevent infection.

During foreplay (making out, touching) and all sexual activity, germs that naturally live on the skin can enter your body. This could cause an infection. Infections that would be minor skin problems for someone with good health, can be more serious if your neuts are low.

It is also possible to get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) if you have unprotected sex with an infected person. With low neuts, your immune system is too weak to fight off infection, and an STI could become very serious. Even if your neuts are normal, protect yourself by using a condom every time you have sex (vaginal, oral or anal sex.) There are male and female condoms that can protect you.

What level should my platelets be to have sex?

Your platelet count should be at least 50 before having sex. This includes all sexual activity such as masturbating, vaginal, oral or anal sex.

The platelet count is reported in different ways

In conversation we may say:

“50”

 

=

On test results you will see:

50 x 109/L

 

=

You may read:

50,000 or

 50 x 103/microliter

 

Why? Because sexual activity can cause bleeding. It doesn’t have to be rough sex. There can be such a tiny amount of blood that you can’t even see it. This can be dangerous if your platelets are low.

Platelets are cells in your blood that stick together to help make a clot and stop bleeding. If you do not have enough platelets, your body cannot stop the bleeding.