A Touchy Subject has a simple mission.
Help men and their partners have fulfilling sexual relationships after prostate cancer surgery.
Here’s how we do that.
Give our Members free ideas and insights from the latest research.
Find products that actually work for ED induced by treatment.
Talk frankly and openly about sex.
Why do we do this?
Because it can be really lonely and frustrating when sex suddenly changes after treatment.
You might be adjusting to the loss of spontaneity, feeling uncertain about the future, and left with questions you didn’t even know you wanted to ask before the treatment.
The first thing to know is that you are definitely not alone.
The Cancer Council estimates that over 100,000 men in Australia alone are currently suffering in silence with the unmet needs of sexual changes following prostate cancer treatment.
So, where do you start…?
Join the Touchy Subject Member’s Club.
FREE access to over 5 hours of expert advice on:
—> How to speed up continence recovery, including Climacturia.
—> How to adjust to life post-treatment, including the female perspective.
—> The whats, whys and hows of erection aids like injection therapy.
Signing up gives you access to Member’s only resources and live webinars. We do not spam or share email addresses, and you can unsubscribe at any time if our emails don’t help you.
Who runs ‘A Touchy Subject’?
I’m Victoria Cullen and I created A Touchy Subject in 2018.
I’m a PhD design researcher with a background in Cognitive Psychology.
I specialise in sexual health products and education in relation to sexual recovery after medical intervention.
I have a particular passion for extracting helpful actionable ideas from the latest academic research.
Here are some landmarks on my journey:
I co-founded the world’s first academic Design and Sexual Health course with Dr. Judith Glover at RMIT University in 2015. This program was featured on The BBC and in The Age.
I am a current PhD researcher at RMIT University (started in 2015), focusing on how we can better deliver sexuality education related to life post-prostate to both patients and medical professionals.
I have an Undergraduate and Masters degree in Cognitive Psychology and Decision Making Sciences from University College London.
Professor Declan Murphy (Melbourne based urologist and director of Robotic Surgery at Peter MacCallum Center) includes an hour consultation with myself as a complementary part of his usual care treatment for all his private robotic Prostatectomy patients.
My vacuum erection device system is the referred pathway by Movember’s True North project.
I give CPD accredited training on erection rehabilitation to GP practices in Melbourne (such as Doctors of Northcote, Prahran Market Clinic, and Deepdene Surgery).
How did you get involved in prostate cancer?
I ran a series of interviews during the Design and Sexual Health course at RMIT with people who had recently purchased a sex toy.
It turns out that many people buying a ‘sex toy’ were actually looking for a ‘sex solution’ for physical changes following a life event (child birth, menopause) or a medical intervention (medication for depression, cancer treatment).
A common theme was the lack of conversation and education around what was happening to their bodies.
Advice from healthcare was often too ‘clinical’ to translate into the fun, connecting sexual experience they wanted. Advice from Google was overwhelming in terms of choice, and not tailored to their specific needs and circumstance.
To try and find a balance between the clinical and the pleasurable, I set up a consultancy to match-make people to sexuality solutions for their individual needs.
One of my first clients were a couple three months following a nerve sparring robotic radical Prostatectomy (the surgical removal of the prostate using a robotic device intended to help preserve cavernous ‘erection’ nerve function).
They were distraught.
They hadn’t expected erectile dysfunction to mean there would be absolutely no physical response to arousal, or that nocturnal and morning erections would also be gone.
They were saddened by other losses they weren’t expecting. The loss of spontaneity, the loss of penile length and girth.
They were worried about whether incontinence might occur during sex.
By the time they came to see me they were barely initiating hand holding in case it led to more.
They had been told the nerve sparring procedure meant erections might return in a couple of years. But that was quite the long stretch of time, and what were they supposed to do in the meantime - and what if that didn’t happen?
They were also confused by the advice they’d received so far.
They had been told to try Viagra and see what happened. But they tried it twice with no results (adding even more insult to injury).
Next, they had been told to try a ‘penis pump’ or injections. Injections made their eyes water, so they decided on the pump first. But the one they found at the local sex shop had caused more harm than good, specifically, an incident of 'testicle suck-up’ (an experience that I now realise many men with chronic ED have unfortunately encountered with commercial pumps). And the ring they were given didn’t hold the erection up after pumping. More insult to injury.
That appointment was in 2015. Their story inspired my PhD research to find better solutions for people in a post-prostate world, and create an ongoing way to share research and practice to help others in the same situation.
Bio: Victoria Cullen
Victoria Cullen is a Sexual Function Specialist and PhD candidate at RMIT University. She obtained her Bachelors and Masters in Cognitive Psychology from University College London. She works with prostate cancer patients at a private oncology clinic, Cancer Specialists, in Melbourne Australia.
In 2015 she co-founded the world's first sex toy design course in an academic setting at RMIT University. This was featured in The Age and on The BBC.
In 2017, she partnered with Urology Surgeon, Professor Declan Murphy, to deliver a complementary consultation to all his private radical prostatectomy patients. This is the first time a surgeon in Australia has included sexology as part of usual care for his patients.
Victoria regularly speaks about sexual health delivery within healthcare. Her audiences include The Asia-Pacific Prostate Cancer Congress (2015, 2017, 2018), The Royal Melbourne, Peter Mac Cancer Center, The Urology Society of Australia and New Zealand Conference 2018, Independence Australia’s Education Day (2017, 2018). See her Twitter for recaps.