Breast cancer is a hugely challenging experience that turns your life upside down. Sex life after breast cancer is not excluded from the equation. This disease and its treatment affect you physically, psychologically, and emotionally. All these factors contribute to changes in your sexual desire and intimacy. Around 70% of breast cancer survivors with partners report sex struggles. Normally, a woman who suffers from such a serious illness and receives harsh medical treatments will not have sex on top of her mind.
Through this article, we’re preparing you for all the changes you might experience and help you find the best solutions.
What to expect
- Loss of sexual desire: In some cases, a breast cancer treatment might lead to a decrease or loss of sexual desire. This might last for months during treatment. However, in most cases, it’s revived again a few months later.
- Nausea and fatigue: Those are two common side effects of chemotherapy. Definitely, no woman with those physical changes will feel sexually aroused.
- Emotional changes: Such a tough experience triggers many psychological changes like tension, depression, and anxiety. This definitely affects your libido and thus your willingness to have sex.
- Sudden-onset menopause: Chemotherapy might lead to abrupt menopause. This is called medical menopause, and in some cases, it’s just a temporary phase during treatment only. However, if the breast cancer case led to surgical ovaries removal, this will cause sudden permanent menopause. Whatever the reason behind the sudden menopause, this definitely affects the woman’s sexual enthusiasm because menopause makes sexual intercourse painful.
- Low self-esteem: It’s common to feel less confident about your body after breast cancer due to mastectomy, hair loss, weight loss, and surgical scars.
How to revive your sexual life after breast cancer?
- Avoid comparison: This is a common trap for a cancer patient. Comparing yourself to what you used to be before cancer will take you nowhere. Give yourself time to understand the changes your body, mind, and soul have gone through. Always remember there is not only one norm in sex that can make you and your partner enjoy.
- Communicate with your husband: It’s essential to validate your feelings. Be frank with him about the things you no more enjoy. It’s always good to think together about how to be more intimate.
- Do pelvic floor workouts: They will increase blood flow to the vaginal area, boost sexual feelings, and help relax those muscles.
- Use lubricants: A common symptom after breast cancer is vaginal dryness. That’s why it’s recommended to use lubricants or moisturizers during intercourse to be more enjoyable.
- Relax and limit distractions: All the changes you’re going through definitely hinder getting easily into the sex mood. Try to set the mood by dimming lights, lighting candles, turning on soft music, and offering massage to each other.
- You can also think of exploring new fantasies with your partner using sex toys, costumes, and vibrators.
- Seek whatever makes you love your body: This might start with buying a wig or having brows microblading, but mostly, loving your body no matter what. You can seek psychological therapy. Remember that you shouldn’t judge yourself at this stage. There is no problem in having breast implant surgery if you feel you need it.
- Seek professional help: You might not need to visit a sexual therapist only, but a psychological one as well due to the emotional roller coaster you’re going through. Some people might not feel comfortable talking about their worries to close people and need professional guidance. It’s an extremely important step especially if you suffer from depression. This is very common after trauma. You can also think of joining a cancer support group because it’s where you will be mostly understood.
- 5 Tips to Spice Up Your Sex Life
- Sex Ed Series: How to Orgasm During Sex
- Hottest Erogenous Zones for Women
Sources used in this article:
- Changes in Your Sex Life – BreastCancer.Org
- How Menopause Can Happen With Breast Cancer Treatments – BreastCancer.Org
- Sex after breast cancer – Breast Cancer Now
- Sexuality After Breast Cancer: Need for Guideline – US National Library of Medicine
- Breast Cancer and Your Sex Life – WebMD