Intimacy After Mastectomy: A Guide For Couples

Intimacy After Mastectomy: A Guide For Couples

Intimacy After Mastectomy: A Guide For Couples

If you’re a couple dealing with the aftermath of mastectomy, you may be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about how to navigate your sex life. It can be difficult to know where to start or what to expect. Rest assured, you're not alone.

Here's a comprehensive guide that'll provide you with the information and support necessary to make your sexual relationship stronger than ever before!



RELATED: The Best Bras After Breast Surgery



How to Rekindle Intimacy after a Mastectomy


The Impact of Mastectomy on Sexuality


A breast cancer diagnosis is a devastating decision to receive, and for breast cancer patients who opt for a mastectomy, the subsequent physical changes can be especially hard to accept and can directly affect their intimacy with partners.

While each person will have their own story to tell, many breast cancer survivors face feelings of insecurity due to breast removal. This can lead to practical changes bringing distance between couples, such as less engaging in activities like hugging and reduced sexual arousal.

Breast cancer survivors may also experience menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats, regardless of their age. This can result in further disruption of their body image, which in turn can have an effect on their ability to reach orgasm with their partner and interfere with their libido or sexual desire.

Additionally, vaginal dryness can also be one common side effect of mastectomy. While vaginal dryness is often easily treatable, it can also result in pain or discomfort and may require an open dialogue with your partner and treatment team or health care provider.

A mastectomy can have profound psychological effects on an individual, too. It can result in reduced self-esteem and even depression. Such changes in emotions can lead to anxiety about the intimacy that couples share, often resulting in feeling "less attractive" or "not good enough" for their partner. These feelings can affect not only the person who has undergone the procedure, but also their partner or spouse.

The best way to approach these issues is by talking openly and honestly about them with each other. Communication is key here; it’s important to make sure both partners are comfortable discussing their thoughts and sexual issues before any physical contact occurs.


Caring for Your Body after Surgery


It’s important to be aware of your body’s needs during your recovery process, as well as those of your partner or spouse. You may find yourself feeling more sensitive than usual after surgery due to nerve damage or scar tissue formation around the affected breast.

As such, it’s important to take things slowly once you resume sexual activity; try out different sexual positions, and experiment with activities that don’t involve too much pressure or movement at first until you discover what works best for you both physically and emotionally.

Additionally, be sure to use plenty of vaginal lubrication during sex; this'll help reduce friction and protect the area from further irritation or discomfort.


Other Tips for Supporting Each Other through Recovery


  • Create an Open Dialogue


Before engaging in any sexual activity, it's important to create an open dialogue between partners. This means discussing feelings openly and honestly in order to foster a greater understanding of one another's needs.

Be sure to listen carefully and without judgement when your partner shares their thoughts and concerns. It's also important to validate their experience by expressing empathy and understanding for their struggles. This can help promote a sense of safety in the relationship, which is essential for building trust and connection.

  • Reestablish Physical Intimacy


Once an open dialogue has been established, couples can begin the process of reestablishing physical intimacy after a mastectomy.

Start slowly and take things at your own pace as there's no timeline for healing or recovery from such a major operation. Take time to explore each other’s bodies and sexual pleasure without expectations or pressure so that both partners feel comfortable being vulnerable with one another again.

Some couples benefit from using massage oils or lotions during this time as they can help create a more soothing atmosphere while providing some additional lubrication if needed.

  • Connect on an Intimate Level


It can be easy to lose sight of the emotional connection between partners when focusing mainly on reestablishing physical intimacy after a breast cancer treatment. That's why it's important to not forget about connecting on an intimate level beyond just sex or touch. Remember, intimacy doesn't always have to involve sexual intercourse — there are many other ways that couples can express affection towards one another without engaging in penetrative sex.

Cuddling up together on the couch, taking long walks together outdoors, enjoying romantic dinners out at restaurants — these are all activities that can help foster closeness between two people without having to engage in any kind of physical activity beyond hugging or holding hands if desired.

Other activities like massage, sex therapy, or yoga classes can also help increase comfort levels while providing relaxation benefits for both partners involved as well. These moments allow couples to connect emotionally in ways that transcend physical touch alone.

If all else fails, a loving gesture or a gift can always help reignite the spark between partners. A small token of love, appreciation, or admiration can be just enough to make your partner feel seen and appreciated during this time of recovery.

And if you need help with gift ideas, our website has plenty of great options to choose from! Whether it's candles, mugs, blankets, or jewelry — there's something for everyone here! We're sure you'll find something that speaks to your partner's individual needs and interests!



RELATED: Helping Your Loved Ones During The Winter Months During Cancer Treatment



  • Take Small Steps Towards Recovery


Overall, recovery from breast cancer treatments, such as mastectomy and hormone therapy, can be a difficult journey that often requires patience and understanding. Take things slowly and remember to focus on strengthening the connection with your partner as you both find what works best for you as individuals as well as for the relationship.

At the end of the day, it's important to focus on taking small steps towards healing rather than looking too far ahead into the future. Being mindful of each other’s needs while reestablishing physical touch is key to fostering closeness between partners at this time. With patience, care, and love, couples can move through this challenging process together in a positive way.


  • Consider Prosthetics or Breast Reconstruction


In some cases, after mastectomy, couples may find that the patient isn't comfortable with the physical changes that have occurred. In these cases, it may be beneficial to consider prosthetics or breast reconstruction as an option for further healing and restoration of confidence.

Prostheses are intended to look like a woman's breasts. They can help restore the breasts' natural shape and feel after mastectomy. For those who are interested in more permanent options, there are also reconstructive surgeries that can sometimes be covered by insurance.

It's important to note that these are major medical procedures and should not be taken lightly — couples should discuss the options together before making a decision.


  • Seek Counselling


Counselling can help both individuals and couples find new perspectives on intimacy, as well as allow each person to express their feelings and fears without judgment. It can also give couples the opportunity to find solutions that work for both of them, and help them reconnect and move past any feelings of disconnection brought on by surgery or other life changes.

Counselling can also provide additional support for those who may be struggling with body image issues after a mastectomy. It's common for patients to feel self-conscious about their appearance even after reconstructive surgery, and seeking out professional help from a sex therapist or counsellor can be immensely beneficial in aiding recovery and helping individuals come to terms with their new bodies.

  • Join a Support Group


Finding a support group may also help the patient and their partner to talk about the difficulties they're facing. Support groups provide a safe, non-judgmental environment in which individuals can share their feelings and experiences with others going through similar journeys. Being part of a community of people undergoing similar life changes can help both partners feel less isolated and more connected.

Support groups also provide valuable resources and advice from peers who are further along in the recovery process, helping you feel more informed and empowered as you move forward.


Final Thoughts


Cancer affects not only one person but those who love them too; this includes intimate relationships and sexual feelings that may have changed due to mastectomy surgery. With patience, understanding, communication, and vulnerability, sexually active couples can successfully navigate this new terrain together, and grow even closer as a result!

Remember that there's no right way when it comes to reestablishing physical intimacy and sexual satisfaction after a mastectomy; instead it’s all about finding what works best for both partners so you can continue forming a strong bond despite any changes brought about by breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.



Up Next: