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