One out of three women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during her lifetime. Undoubtedly, surviving cancer will often change a woman’s personal outlook on life. After surgery, radiation or other medical treatments— just when it’s time to start enjoying life to its fullest again, sexually speaking— the majority of women may face a drained mojo or sexual desire. Some women will develop a lack of sexual confidence and maybe even experience some difficulty with arousal or reaching orgasm. More than 90 percent of cancer patients complain of some sort of sexual side effects relating to their treatment. Experiencing these sexual concerns, whether in solitude or silence is far from uncommon.
For women who have had cancer, re-establishing closeness and intimacy may feel like another uphill battle but there are some steps you can take to get your “sexy back”.
Women are often not given the information they need. Many are suffering in silence, believing that the pain and body changes that they’re experiencing are a normal part of aging and that they just need to grin and bear it. The reality is there are a lot of safe and effective therapies that can be done to remedy the situation.
Find the strength to break the silence about your need for sexual satisfaction. Bridging the communication gap with yourself and a partner are critical steps to regaining control of your sexual self. It may begin with a heart-to-heart conversation with your partner— fearlessly but openly disclosing your concerns, apprehensions, and finding new ways to reconnect sexually as a couple. New may even mean more exciting!
Whether you’re experiencing negative body image, loss of libido, the early stages of menopause, or severe mood changes due to hormonal imbalances, there are trained professionals that deal with sexuality and cancer. Do not be afraid to seek help. Reaching out to a sexual medicine specialist or finding a committed sexual counselor is another way to help restore your sexual confidence. These professionals often have some suggestions or can suggest some simple solutions. Specialized programs like Look Good, Feel Better sanctioned by the American Cancer Society can also provide support and help you start feeling better about your body post cancer.
Your body has changed. It’s true that you may not look or feel the same, but surviving is thriving. There are some novel solutions which may be helpful depending on your concerns. From surgical reconstruction to life like breast/bra inserts, nipple, and scar tattooing to sexy cancer specific clothing, there are products available that can help you reclaim your sexual self-esteem.
Sometimes small interventions such as cancer specific appliances can help a woman feel whole again. Believe it or not, there is even specifically designed lingerie for women who have had breast or colon cancer. Are you suffering from hand edema and troubled by the constant boring sleeve? Try new lymph arm bands that are made from colorful prints and have sexy vibrant patterns.
If vaginal dryness is a problem, a simple solution like adding a personal lubricant to your daily routine can often help. If your mojo had turned into a “nojo.” then try experimenting with enhancement creams and some new toys in the bedroom. There even are non-hormonal medications specifically approved for the treatment of lowered sexual interest and they may be right for you.
It is true that cancer changes everything, but you’re too sexy for cancer and too empowered to let this glitch rob you of the sexual vitality you know and deserve. Stay informed, get help and know you are not alone.