Sexual Communication with Breast Cancer


Sexual Communication with Breast Cancer

Sexuality and intimacy are not the same. Intimacy is closeness, or trust, and does not require a sexual relationship. A satisfying sexual relationship requires intimacy or feelings of closeness. Intimacy starts with how you feel about your partner and must be nurtured. It takes time and energy to build and maintain.

You can build intimacy with little things: talking, listening with full attention, nonsexual touch, doing things together. Different methods work for different people, and it’s the effort that counts. Evidence suggests that intimacy is healing and conducive to recovery.

Marriage problems are common after treatment, and they can have an impact on a couple’s sex life. On the other hand, cancer sometimes motivates change and repair of long-standing problems. Many women report that their marriages are stronger and closer after going through breast cancer treatment.

The key is to ask for what you need, both in and out of the bedroom. Let your partner know verbally or nonverbally what your desires are. Move your partner’s hand away from uncomfortable areas, and be direct and specific.

There’s nothing wrong with saying: “Let’s try intercourse, even though we might have to stop,” or “I’m not ready for sex yet. Could you please caress me/massage me/hold me instead?”

Give yourself time to heal, and don’t let pride keep you from seeking help through couples or sex therapy.

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