Intimacy during and after cancer

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Hello all, I hope this is ok to talk about here. I was going to just post it in my breast cancer group, but then I thought it may be relevant for all types of cancer patients. So here it goes.

Since my diagnosis and treatment I've really struggled with being intimate with my SO. I just don't have the desire, and I don't know if that's because of what I've been through, like a side effect of treatment, or my medications. I also have a hard time looking at myself and feeling good about my body after my surgeries.

I hope this isn't too much, I feel kind of  silly posting this. I guess I'm just wondering how you all cope with a lack of intimacy after or even during your cancer? Is anyone else dealing with this or is it just me?

Beginning of the discussion - 6/3/20

Intimacy during and after cancer

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@1984survivor! Hello 1984survivor!, thank you for opening this discussion! This is an important topic, as cancer can take a significant toll on not only our physical health, but on our mental health and intimate relationships.

We recently published an article on sexuality and chronic illness that may be helpful to you, let me link it here: Intimacy with a Chronic Illness

Let me tag some members who can maybe weigh in.

Hello everyone, I hope you're well! Has your cancer or your treatment affected your emotional and sexual life? Do you talk about it with your partner or significant other? What to you do to cope or to make things better?

@DarlaMccallister@Davidy@Jeanie1234@MerylK@tonibroad2@Nikkie313@Hind97@moshiro@Michelle413@Sammygirl@Char26@Jenniferrebert@Patty22373@Georgie@Sexy667@Paul58@Sentient@Rolmoto‍ 

Feel free to share your thoughts, doubts, fears and feelings here! We're all here to help each other!

Take care,
Courtney

Intimacy during and after cancer
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My wife died from a parotid gland cancer that metastasized and eventually killed her.  Until her death I  continued to periodically make love to her until a month before she died.  While she lost her hair and 60 pounds it was important to continue with what we still had between us until one day she felt it uncomfortable.  I think she was trying to take care of me and it made her feel good to still be my woman. I think this gave her the message that she was still attractive to me.   I made a bid deal out of how much pleasure she was giving me.  The last month, when she was awake, I would still tell her how beautiful she was every day.  Disabling illness causes losses, day by day.  One day she needed oxygen, another day we couldn't take walks.  We weren't going to lose anything between us until we had to, so we maintained our sexual relationship as best we could. 

Intimacy during and after cancer

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@smarc1214 Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I'm so sorry for your loss, but I'm beyond sure your wife felt so loved. Support, and most importantly, love, are so vitally important when you're going through a disease like cancer.

Intimacy during and after cancer
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@smarc1214 Thank you for sharing that, you brought me to tears. I know words do nothing to ease pain, but my sincerest condolences for your loss. Your wife sounds like a wonderful, beautiful person.

 @1984survivor!  Cancer does its best to make us feel undesirable so I understand you not wanting to look at yourself. But you are beautiful and your SO knows that. I felt the same way and it wasn't until I had an honest conversation with my partner about how I was feeling that things started to change. He hadn't tried to initiate because he was afraid of hurting me or didn't want to cross boundaries knowing what my body was going through. Have you been able to talk to him about it? Maybe your SO is hesitant too?

Intimacy during and after cancer

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@1984survivor!‍ It's completely normal to feel that way, your body has been through complete hell and it's in "heal mode". Let your body and mind heal. You can still be close with your husband emotionally. And if he's a good man like I'm sure he is, he will love you and be there for you regardless. 

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