Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 133–142 | Cite as

Sexuality and exercise in men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer

  • K. HamiltonEmail author
  • S. K. Chambers
  • M. Legg
  • J. L. Oliffe
  • P. Cormie
Original Article



Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for the management of prostate cancer results in a range of side effects including sexual dysfunction. Exercise is proposed as a potentially effective therapy to counteract changes in sexual function. The current study explored the impact of ADT on men’s sexuality and the effect of exercise on this experience.


Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 18 men (age = 63.1 ± 3.8) who were on ADT for prostate cancer for ≤12 months and who were part of a pre-existing exercise intervention trial.


Sexual concerns for men included changes in body image, partner relationships, sex drive, sexual performance and masculinity. In coping with these concerns, men described a sense of personal acceptance of sexual changes through a shift in priorities and values away from penetrative sexual intercourse, knowledge and understanding about ADT, and partner support. Exercise in a group-based setting contributed to the acceptance of sexual changes through affirming strength-based aspects of masculinity and peer support.


Exercise appears to have utility as a strategy to assist men to manage the negative impact of ADT on sexuality and masculinity more broadly.


Prostate Cancer Sexuality Androgen deprivation therapy Exercise Masculinity 



SKC is supported by an Australian Research Council Professorial Future Fellowship. PC is supported by the Cancer Council Western Australia Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. We would like to thank exercise physiologists Courtney White, Mark Trevaskis and Kelly Vibert

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Hamilton
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. K. Chambers
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • M. Legg
    • 1
  • J. L. Oliffe
    • 5
  • P. Cormie
    • 4
  1. 1.Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Cancer Council QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Prostate Cancer Foundation of AustraliaSydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Edith Cowan University Health and Wellness InstituteEdith Cowan UniversityPerthAustralia
  5. 5.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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