Sex with Cancer – online sex shop and health advocacy

Sex with Cancer
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Sex with Cancer is a new online sex shop also selling artwork and providing information to the public on how people living with and beyond cancer can take agency over their own sexual health and wellbeing.

Sex with Cancer

Formed a partnership with Sh! Women’s’ Erotic Emporium and two artists (who are former cancer patients), Brian Lobel and Joon-Lynn Goh, Sex with Cancer is the UK’s first online sex shop, designed by and for people living with and beyond cancer. They have drawn on a steering group of patient advocates, specialist doctors and nurses, psychosexual therapists, pleasure activists and sex toy experts.

The selection of products and sexual aids have been specifically curated to be an answer to the specific sexual challenges relating to cancer and are available from the online shop sexwithcancer.com as of today.

Over the last 18 months, the team collected over 200 questions about sex that people living with and beyond cancer most wanted to ask. The top 25 questions were then put to the Sex with Cancer steering group for responses from a range of expert perspectives, including how to communicate with a partner, how to build back confidence with a changed body, and what to write on your Tinder profile.

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Why do we need a sex shop for people with or beyond cancer?

As someone who has not suffered from cancer, this was a question I initially asked myself. But after further research, the answer to the question, and the need for the online shop Sex with Cancer becomes evident.

Cancer, and the treatments for cancer, often have serious effects on a person’s sex life in direct and indirect ways:

  • Surgeries can result in body parts being removed, or scars that can take time to get used to.
  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can cause exhaustion, weight loss, weight gain, loss of interest in sex, erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, and heightened infection risks.
  • People with cancer are navigating lots of emotions, traumas and priorities, all of which might make sex less desirable or feasible.

Sex with Cancer helps people open the dialogue around these issues with those around them and their medical teams. This is particularly relevant for people feel uncomfortable talking about sex, and is compounded by some medical professionals lacking the confidence and training in a professional capacity to talk about sexual pleasure, intimacy and relationships.

Whilst sex toys are well promoted and safe, they are not medically tested, so cannot be formally recommended by doctors. This can lead to overly-medicalised information, nervous doctors, and lots of missed opportunities for good sex and meaningful intimacy.

These effects on treatments and lack of open dialogue need to be considered in the context of the backdrop of national cancer dialogue promoting ‘getting back to normal’ instead of ‘loving a body’s new normal’.

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What does Sex with Cancer sell?

As well as a number of sex toys for all genders, Sex with Cancer also sells artworks to open up the conversation around illness, intimacy and agency. This includes an online performance – to help viewers get better at having difficult conversations; a visual artwork; a documentary film about our relationship with sex and pleasure as we confront cancer; a zine – providing real life experiences through writing and art; and an essay charting the story of Sex with Cancer.

To find out more about Sex with Cancer’s mission, to purchase any of the toys and products, or to find out the answers to the top 25 questions about sex with cancer, visit sexwithcancer.com.

About Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.