Friday, 6 December 2013

Let's talk about sex...

Oh yeah now I remember!  I knew that I had forgotten or lost something I just wasn't sure what it was..  I have been going around this last few months thinking, what have I forgotten, have I have lost something? Now I realise what it is, my libido!  I’ve lost my libido!  Wow!  When did this happen?  Where did it go?  Who stole it?  I don’t know, I don’t know!!! Help!!!! I want my libido back.  I hadn’t even realised that it had gone, but yet I want it back, why? Well because I want to be me.  My sex drive was a part of who I am or was and I don’t want to change, I don’t want to become the person that I don’t know.  

Maybe this is what happens to you when you go into menopause, but the difference is that menopausal women have the time for their bodies and minds to adjust and get used to it, and time to know that it is a natural course of nature, so they don’t make a big deal about the change in their sexual drive, or they are too embarrassed to talk about it.  I however have been forced very quickly into it.  

So it's frustrating, this change in my sexual life, this loss of libido, of "those urges," but if you think about it I've lost both my breasts, I'm constantly worrying, I've not much energy, always tired, hurt in new places, it's no bloody wonder I'm not feeling sexy!!!!!

Now, although husband is loving, patient, and we are both willing to try, I just can't seem to enjoy sex as I used to do.  I am grateful that I am alive and cancer free, but I miss the enjoyment I used to take for granted..  Why did no one warn me that loss of sex drive and difficulty having sex are common complaints among breast cancer survivors.  Fact: More than two-thirds of surveyed survivors reported that they were still having sexual function problems two years after diagnosis, and most described their sex lives as satisfying before breast cancer.

“From the moment the surgeon takes a knife to your breast -- unless you have superhuman self-esteem -- there is an impact on sexuality.” 

So mentally it affects the enjoyment of having your breasts touched during sex because it reminds you of cancer and treatment.  Physically foreplay/sex no longer involves the breasts, (well not for me) and when that's always been an important part of your love making routine - it's hard - excuse the pun!

So even though breast reconstruction restores the shape of the breast, it cannot restore normal breast sensation. The nerve that supplies feeling to the nipple runs through the deep breast tissue, and it gets disconnected during surgery.  In a reconstructed breast, the feeling of pleasure from touching the nipple is lost, and a rebuilt nipple has much less feeling or none, as in my case.  They say in time, the skin on the reconstructed breast will regain some sensitivity (here's hoping!) but probably it will not give the same kind of pleasure as before mastectomy.  So whilst breast reconstruction often makes women more comfortable with their bodies, and helps them feel more attractive and normal on the outside, the inside is still a mass of confusion.

Thank goodness for intimacy, and intimacy doesn't just mean sex.  Intimacy is where 2 people exchange thoughts, share ideas, enjoy similarities and differences, it's when you comfortably share your feelings with each other or empathise with each other's feelings.  It's a sense that you have a special bond joining you together, trusting your partner completely, caring for each other and sharing affection and secrets, your most inner private thoughts - communication is a must!  We have to communicate, and I have learnt that going through Cancer diagnosis & treatment, communication is more important than ever.

If you were to ask me what I think a relationship is based on, I will answer without hesitation. To me, a relationship is based on three things, the first two are very important and without them the relationship won’t work.  The third is unimportant but if you’ve got it, it’s a bonus.  These three things are; Friendship, Trust and Sex.

Looking forward to meeting up with my long lost friend again soon.......... Xxx