Addressing the sexual sequelae of chronic disease and its treatment is now accepted as a fundamental part of healthcare. Most of the sexual effects of chronic disease are negative, and ongoing illness continues to modulate a woman's sexual self-image, energy and interest in sexual activity, as well as her ability to respond to sexual stimuli with pleasurable sensations, excitement, orgasm and freedom from pain with genital stimulation or intercourse. Nevertheless, for many women with chronic illness, sexuality remains extremely important despite the commonly associated fatigue and acquired sexual dysfunctions; sexual resilience can be substantial. Following recovery from cancer surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, prognosis can be excellent and a return to full health can often be expected, and yet, there may have been devastating changes to sexual function owing to the cancer treatment. Women with metastatic disease may still treasure sexual intimacy. Assessment and management of sexual dysfunction is therefore necessary in all women with chronic illness or past or present cancer.