- Question from Serena: What about those of us who don't have a partner now? I'm so anxious about getting back to dating, much less sex, since breast cancer and surgery. Any suggestions?
Marisa Weiss, M.D.
The most important thing is to try to meet people who you can create a relationship with, while doing something you enjoy. You might find at this time in your life that it may be best to establish a friendship with a potential partner that could lead to an intimate relationship.
You don't have to reveal everything about yourself to someone whom you've just met. You share things about yourself with somebody that you have a connection to and that you are forming a relationship with. Once a friendship or a relationship is in place, it will feel much more comfortable to talk about good things as well as difficult things.
When the time comes for you to share that you had breast cancer and that you have scars and other changes in your body, do it before you hit the bedroom. I can tell you that revealing this information for the first time when you're in bed does not work well.
- Su Kenderdine But don't neglect pleasuring yourself and your sensual being while you're alone. That can be getting massages, getting facials, having a pedicure, getting yourself sexy underwear that makes you feel good, nice lotions, nice perfumes. Crawling into a pretty bed did it for me when I was alone. Experiment gently with yourself with sexual arousal and climax so you begin to know how those things work for you now. Don't neglect yourself sensually during this time because you're alone.
Marisa Weiss, M.D.
When you do take care of yourself in a sexual way that Su has described, it will change the way you see yourself and how other people will experience you. Anybody in your life, including a potential partner, is going to pick up your "vibes." The clues, your actions, things you say, the way you walk, all of those things tell your potential partner a lot about you.
You can intentionally create clues, put out some vibes to give your partner a sense of what you're interested in and ready for. If you share about your breast cancer experience, if you let them know that you've come to a place where you're OK with it, that you're moving beyond it, and that you're comfortable sharing your body, then your partner will pick up what you say almost like an instruction.
On Wednesday, May 19, 2004, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Sleep or Sex? You Can Have Both! Su Carroll Kenderdine, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about how to maintain sexual intimacy during and after treatment, what to do for loss of libido and vaginal dryness, ways to reduce the fatigue related to breast cancer, and more.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. 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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