Sex and Cancer

Sex. Everybody talks about it. Well, let me rephrase that… Everybody makes a joke about it and then laughs uncomfortably. In our society, we don’t actually talk about sex with any honesty or vulnerability. We pretend to be enlightened about intimacy, but try bringing the topic up around the dinner table during the holidays. Someone might choke on their cranberry sauce (not that’s not a euphemism). Eroticism is virtually everywhere. But are we as human beings getting left behind in this mad rush toward the erotic? I think so.  Very few of us actually have any kind of meaningful discussion around sexuality, especially as it relates to our journey with cancer. Cancer and Sex? Aren’t these two things diametrically opposed? Nope.

Well, what is sex really? It can have so many different meanings depending on your point of view; intimacy, entertainment. Heck, I‘ve even heard a sex therapist talk about how some people use sex as exercise (I can almost hear the personal trainer yelling “C’mon give me another set of 12!”)

This is such a big topic that it needs to be given space, especially if we are on a journey with cancer. Our image of our bodies and who we are as people can change radically when we are in the midst of a major life change especially as it relates to our most intimate moments. This can bring up many questions for individuals and couples as well. But the overarching answer to most of the questions is….It’s OK. Its OK if you don’t feel sexual for a while. Its OK if it feels different. It’s OK if you’re not the powerhouse in bed you once were. It’s OK if what used to be a marathon lovemaking session is now some kissing and touching. It’s OK to not think about it for a while. Its OK to have fantasies about your radiation oncologist. It’s OK to have hot, sweaty dirty sex now that you’re a cancer survivor.  And it’s way more than OK to find healing and solace in honest intimate contact.

There is space for all of it. It’s all OK.