Is couples counseling recommended?

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Question from Selena: Would you recommend counseling for my husband and myself on issues we have about sex since I had my cancer surgery? I've tried everything I know of to be more sexual and make up for the loss of my breast, but nothing seems to work. I'm at my wits' end.
Answers - Leslie R. Schover, Ph.D. Certainly I would recommend counseling. Sometimes it may be difficult to find a mental health professional who is familiar both with cancer and with sex therapy, but in a large city, there are usually at least a few such people. You may want to ask your oncologist or, if you belong to a support group, women from your group to find out who is available in your area who has some expertise. Sometimes having an outsider's point of view can help pinpoint problems that are getting in the way.
Debra Thaler-DeMers Some studies have been done that show after a diagnosis of cancer people try to go back to the way they had sex before the diagnosis, and if it doesn't work as well, they tend to give up. It's very important that you not give up, especially if sex was something important to you before your cancer surgery. It may be that you and your husband need to experiment or play with different ways to have sex now that your lives have changed.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. It's so normal to feel discouraged when you've experienced so many big changes all at once. It's hard to fix things quickly. It will take a lot of time listening to each other, persistence and patience to make progress in this area. Also, know that the progress can be slow sometimes and speed up other times. As best you can, try to keep up the intimacy in your relationship in other departments outside the bedroom.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Intimacy, Sex and Your Love Life featured Leslie R. Schover, Ph.D., Debra Thaler-DeMers, R.N., O.C.N., P.H.N., and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about how to improve your sex life during and after breast cancer treatment.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in February 2002.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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