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What Can you do to improve your sexuality when dealing with cancer?

Talk to your doctors and nurses about symptoms that you are experiencing. This may help to decrease or treat them. For example, sexual intercourse with vaginal dryness is very uncomfortable and certainly not pleasurable; vaginal lubricants and some medications may reduce this menopausal side effect. If anyone you speak with is not comfortable or knowledgeable, don’t give up; find someone who is. Think about and explore the kind of emotional support that best works for you. Some people are benefited by one-to-one therapy, others find their deepest help in support groups, others blossom in the setting of the creative arts, writing in a journal, going on a retreat or having “heart-to hearts” with relatives and friends. Read, research and talk to others. Believing that you are the only person in the world with sad, hard, complicated or confused feelings, thoughts and behaviors about sex can be isolating and lonely. Understand that it is hard for most people to talk about restarting the conversation with friends, other women with breast cancer, health care providers, therapists and spouses, partners, and lovers is a potentially life-changing event. You may feel better; you will probably feel less alone and you may feel more at home with yourself, your body, sexuality, sensuality and intimacy. Don’t feel pressured to be any more or less sexual than you want to be. There is no “right” way to be; what’s important is to explore what you want and be able to work with what you want to change.

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