Last year, at age 37, I was one of those people.I needed a lumpectomy to remove the two cancerous areas in my right breast, six rounds of chemotherapy and 30 sessions of radiation. I knew that treatment would be tough, but I didn’t realize just how tough it would be. I lost my signature long red locks, required 20 extra days of IVs to combat the side effects from chemotherapy, was thrown into early menopause, and gained 23 pounds from all the steroids. For fifteen months, much of my life revolved around cancer.As much as treatment affected me, I vowed to maintain some small sense of normalcy in my life. Continuing to prioritize my sexual health was a key part of that! (I am a sex blogger, after all.)
We all have things in our lives that are non-negotiable, those things that make us truly happy. Whatever obstacles life throws at us, we should do everything in our power to make sure that we continue to enjoy those things. It’s fun to have orgasms and sex! And, not surprisingly, I’m not alone in that feeling!
A recent University of Chicago study reported that 42% of female cancer patients ranging in age from 21 to 88 wanted to talk to their doctors about sex. However, only 7% had done so. Doctors need to be better about communicating with their patients about sex, and patients need to find ways to better advocate for themselves. Medical facilities should have policies in place for talking to patients about sex, and sex should be regarded as normal as any other daily activity.
Patients also are responsible for bringing the issue of sex to the table. If you’re a patient, who do you feel comfortable talking to at your doctor’s office? Can you ask for your doctor’s email or write your doctor a note with your questions? Is there a support group that might be a good fit for you? Both doctors and patients will benefit from increased communication and talking openly about any sexual restrictions or concerns. A few minutes of conversation now before there’s a problem might prevent a complication later.
It’s also important for women going through an illness to communicate with their partners. Sex will be different during treatment, as it is during any major life event, but different doesn’t have to equate with bad. Finding creative ways to be intimate can be passionate in its own way.
During treatment, side effects such as nausea, fatigue or body pain might change the intensity at which a woman wishes to reach orgasm. If you’re in treatment, be kind to your body. If you don’t feel strong enough to break out the jackhammer of sex toys, try the Lelo Mia or Nea. Enjoy the process of sex or playing with sex toys and focus less on the end goal of reaching orgasm. (That will happen eventually, but give yourself permission to take longer to orgasm or explore softer vibrations.)
I’m elated to report that I finished treatment last month, and I’m cancer-free! Somewhere in the midst of fighting this battle, I became an advocate for the cause. To that end, I promised myself to do whatever I could to educate others about the benefits of early detection!
Speaking of which, have you felt your boobies this month? Are you up to date on your annual gynecologist, dermatologist and mammogram appointments? If not, do that self exam and schedule those appointments!
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I recently launched a campaign with Fun Factory, the award-winning adult toy company.
From now through October 31st, enter the code, “Citygirl,” with a capital ‘C’ at checkout at FunFactoryUSA.com. You’ll save 20% off of your total purchases and an additional 20% donation will be made to Pink Jams!, an organization dedicated to promoting breast cancer awareness to people under the age of 40.
Toy With Me has written several posts about Fun Factory over the years. My favorite Fun Factory products are the Smart Balls Teneo Duo, a great pick for women for use alone or with their partner, and the Calla featured in the picture.
How does this work again?
- Buy a treat from FunFactoryUSA.com by Halloween;
- Enter “Citygirl” at checkout;
- Save 20% on your purchase;
- Take comfort in the fact that an additional 20% is going to breast cancer awareness; and
- Stay on top of your health. (Okay, the last one isn’t mandatory, but it’s far more important than any discount.)