This month marks the opening of a first-of-its-kind sex shop in the UK, curated specifically for people “living with and beyond cancer”. Sex with Cancer has been created by two friends and former cancer patients, with the aim of providing people with resources, support, and products that can help them reconnect with their bodies and relationships during and after cancer treatment.
Joon-Lynn Goh and Brian Lobel, the co-founders of Sex with Cancer, first met when Goh was undergoing treatment for breast cancer in 2018. The pair chatted about sexuality during and after the illness, realising that there was a need for more resources. They reached out to sex-positive educators, campaigners, patients, nurses, and sex toy specialists – and Sex with Cancer officially opened on Oct. 7 this year.
Their website details that the impact that a cancer diagnosis and treatment can have on physical and mental health, with a particular focus on sex. “We knew first-hand that people with a cancer diagnosis are often shy or embarrassed to talk about sex with their medical teams, but also that many doctors and nurses lack confidence talking about sex and sexuality with their patients,” said Lobel, on Instagram.
“Another thing we really noticed was that the information that was out there was largely medical jargon and warnings, none of which is sexy,” Lobel continued. “So we knew we had to do something, this is where Sex with Cancer was born.”
On Instagram, Goh added: “In the context of Covid-19, we think this exploration of intimacy and illness is part of a much bigger shift in our collective understanding of wellbeing.”
Sex with Cancer’s shop curator, Toni has worked with London’s Sh! Women’s Emporium to put together a full range of products – from lubes and oils to bullet vibrators and prostate massagers – and designed Pleasure Kits, which include a selection of several products.
In spring 2021, Goh and Lobel reached out to their communities to compile 200 questions about sex with cancer. They then put the top 25 questions to their advisors, and have since published the answers on their website. The Sex with Cancer site also features articles, resources, and art by current and former cancer patients, creating an important space for discussions on sexuality, intimacy, and illness.