The issue of sexuality is sensitive for many women, and it can be especially sensitive, and painful, for women affected by breast cancer. Whether newly diagnosed, undergoing treatment, or trying to get on with the rest of your life, your feelings about sex and intimacy are probably not what they used to be. To say the least. You may be too anxious or exhausted for sex. You may be self-conscious about changes in your body from treatment. Or it may be downright painful to engage in sexual activities you once found enjoyable.
In our Ask-the-Expert Online Conferences on Intimacy and Sexuality, our experts answer questions about sexual side effects of breast cancer and breast cancer treatment, and what you can do about it. Some of the questions include:
- I have been taking Effexor, which is great for hot flashes, but my sex drive has gone down. I heard Wellbutrin doesn't cause loss of sex drive so much, but can Wellbutrin help hot flashes? Answer.
- I have a high grade of cancer-related fatigue, and one of my biggest problems is to find a normal balance between rest and activity. Sex is one of the "activities" I struggle with. After a sex act, it feels like I need a week holiday. Is it the fatigue or only lower libido? Answer.
- I have no desire to be sexual with my partner since my cancer surgery. Is this normal? Will this always be the case, or am I losing my mind? Answer.
- When my husband and I are intimate, I feel him tense up when he goes to touch me. He says there isn't a problem. How can I get him to open up about his feelings? Answer.
The conference transcripts in this section are part of the Breastcancer.org Ask-the-Expert Online Conference program.
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"I'm disfigured—and lopsided. I have no hair, and I've gained ten pounds. Admit it! If I think my body is so repulsive, how can you say it doesn't make a difference? I miss my breast so much!" Emily was distraught. "I miss your breast—but I'd miss you more. It doesn't matter to me. I mean it," her partner insisted. "You're here, and that's all that counts."
Robin M. Ciocca, D.O.