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As you learn more about your body and your desires, be direct and specific. "Please, not now. I'm just not up to sex at this moment." Or "Let's not have intercourse, but please hold me / please caress me / please massage me here / let's try something new / let's try intercourse even if we have to stop." It may be easier to talk about sex when you're not on the verge of starting it. Choose a time when you're comfortably settled in together, in a neutral environment.

Talking about sex may be new for you, but change can be exciting. "Be active," Sue advised. She had traveled the distance from post-treatment aversion to sex, to return of interest, and finally, to desire. "Initiate sexual activities, in a lively way. Show that you love it. There's no better turn-on—the sex can be truly terrific."

The bottom line is to give yourself time to heal. What comes with great difficulty and pain now may ease up and become comfortable and possibly even pleasurable at some point in the future.

Expert Quote

"Sex and intimacy happen one step at a time. Give yourself time, give yourself love and affection, and make sure you give yourself credit all along the way for your hard work and courage."

-- Marisa Weiss, M.D., president and founder, Breastcancer.org

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