If you’ve just learned that you have breast cancer, your sex life may be the last thing on your mind. But as you move through surgery and treatment, it is definitely worth thinking about how you can maintain and preserve your sexuality.
That’s because sex is so closely tied to intimacy. Having cancer can be lonely enough; you need the touching and loving that comes from intimacy now more than ever. Plus, sexuality helps you maintain a sense of normalcy, health and vitality, all of which are so important when dealing with a serious illness.
Can breast surgery affect your sex life?
There’s no denying that cancer, regardless of the type, can have a huge impact on your sex life. The worry and fear alone may make you less interested in sex, not to mention the side effects from treatments and the healing process after surgery.
But breast cancer brings special challenges. To many women, the breasts are an important part of their sexual identity. Even if your breast cancer was discovered early and removed with breast conserving surgery rather than a mastectomy, studies find little difference when it comes to your sex life. The good news, however, is that women undergoing lumpectomy report fewer body image problems and greater feelings of sexual attractiveness. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate into more sex. Even women who had breast reconstruction after their mastectomies did not report an increased interest in sex.