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Sexuality and Surgery Scars

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There is no “one size fits all” approach to dealing with scars from metastatic breast cancer surgery and sex. Some women feel proud of their surgery scars and see them as symbols of strength. Other women may feel uncomfortable about their scars and would prefer their partner neither touch them nor look at them. Think about what feels good to you:

  • Be vocal about what you like and do not like. If you do not want your scar touched, for example, tell your partner. But don’t assume your partner automatically knows how you feel and why you feel this way. Communicate your needs in a caring way; then offer an alternative, such as, “I appreciate your touching my scar, but I do not like how it feels. Can you stroke my back instead?”
  • If you’re feeling self-conscious, wear something that makes you feel more comfortable. For example, a satin camisole or short nightgown can remove the distraction of your scars and help you focus on the moment, on your pleasure, and on your partner’s pleasure.
  • Some women choose to wear their prosthesis with a bra during sex. If you had a mastectomy without reconstruction, you might decide you’d prefer to wear a prosthesis some of the time, including during sex. Look for specialty shops such as Nordstrom that fit mastectomy bras with prosthetics.
  • Makeup. If you are self-conscious about your scars,but do not want to cover them with clothing, try some heavy concealer and see if you feel better when you apply it. The decision to use makeup or not is a personal choice. For some women, putting a little makeup over scars helps things feel more normal and less about surgery.

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