More on Sexuality and Intimacy
This is a companion piece to yesterday's entry (and let me tell you how happy it makes me when I know in advance what I am going to write about). Yesterday I gave you a link to a comprehensive Medscape article about physical changes and difficulties. Today we are focusing on the psychological issues.
We all know the cliche about "your brain is your primary sex organ", and it surely is true during and after cancer. I big part of regaining a healthy and happy intimate life is being comfortable in your skin and confident about your womanhood and desirability. Those can be very illusive feelings during treatment, and sometimes not so easy afterwards either. If you haven't read my book, After Breast Cancer: A Commonsense Guide to Life After Treatment, I recommend it for a number of reasons, but the relevant one here is that there is a comprehensive chapter about intimacy and these very concerns. The short summary is it is vital that you and your partner talk about all of this and that you need to relearn your body, what pleasures and pleases you.
This is the introduction to an excellent guide from Living Beyond Breast Cancer; you can either read it online or download and print it or even order a paper copy.
Guide to Understanding Intimacy and Sexuality
Practical advice about managing and talking about the sexual side effects of breast cancer
Our Guide to Understanding Intimacy and Sexuality offers an in-depth, candid discussion of the many ways that breast cancer diagnosis and treatment can impact your sexual life. Menopausal symptoms, treatment side effects and changes to your breasts and body can lessen your sexual desire, and the emotional strain that comes from those changes can make it hard to enjoy the physical pleasure of your relationships.
You may find that your healthcare providers don’t discuss the details of sexual and intimacy issues related to breast cancer as much as you’d like, or they may not talk about them at all. The Guide to Understanding Intimacy and Sexuality explains the types of treatments and side effects that may impact your sexual life both physically and emotionally, and offers practical advice for preserving or rediscovering it. Explore how to talk to your healthcare providers and partner about concerns, and how to handle talking about your diagnosis with new partners if you start to date after treatment.
The guide includes the experiences of single and partnered people, people of all sexual orientations, and women of all ages.