It is abundantly clear that the type of intimate relationships and sex that we have, and the frequency with which we have it, is as variable as human nature itself. What is enjoyable for one person may not be for the next. The psychological aspects of our sexuality are just as important as the physical and indeed for the woman the physical act is usually the lesser in importance.
The effects of the surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are profound and involve the psyche as well. Both the body and mind need healing. Perhaps in no other area will good communication with your partner be as important. Unless he or she knows how you are . . . physically and mentally . . . then sex will be less satisfactory than before your diagnosis.
Most sexual pleasure stems from the clitoris and in the vast majority of cancers, the clitoris will be unaffected. Orgasm for the woman can easily occur without penetration if oral or digital stimulation or masturbation takes place. Feedback is very important! Your partner will be scared of hurting you and you may feel different to what you did before your diagnosis so keep him or her informed! Touching is a very important part of human relationships too. Touch IS intimate and can occur even if sexual desire is low.
Even though it may be difficult for you to discuss your intimate feelings with your partner, the quicker you do, the quicker he or she will have an understanding of how you are reacting and feeling. This will then lead to both of you finding acceptable solutions to satisfying both your needs. Remember – your partner may have the same anxious feelings as you, and feel just as distressed, vulnerable or helpless.