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

Support Care Cancer. 2015 Jan;23(1):133-42. doi: 10.1007/s00520-014-2327-8. Epub 2014 Jul 10.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Data Collection
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Masculinity
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / chemically induced
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / therapy*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Sexuality*


  • Androgen Antagonists