“Will I ever get my sex drive back? What can I do to reconnect to my sexuality and desire?”
Sex toy expert Renee says...
The old adage “use it or lose it” is true – it’s time to remind your body of what it’s been missing.
Masturbation is a great way of reconnecting with your sexuality. Lock the door, grab a bottle of lube, and set about exploring. Erotic fantasies are great, but if the well has run dry, try watching, reading or listening to something that turns you on. Schedule in regular “me time” to help keep the juices flowing.
Cancer nurse Beth says...
There are many different reasons that sex drive diminishes during and after treatment. This very much depends on the type of cancer and treatment you have had and whether the side effects are temporary or more long term.
Most people who have chemotherapy will feel tired from that, which often means a lack of interest in sex. This usually returns to normal within a few months of treatment finishing.
If you have been treated for a cancer in the pelvic region the complications can be more significant depending on the treatment. It’s best to speak to your specialist teams at the hospital as they should be expert in dealing with those types of specific problems and may be able to prescribe certain medications or other interventions that can help.
How to reconnect? Get back to basics and take ‘sex’ out of the equation and work towards intimacy, including things like having date nights, giving massages, having naked cuddles, etc. Go slow, you’ll get comfortable eventually.
Patient advocate Elvin says...
Easy to say (than to always do) but relaxing, not worrying, and allowing you and your partner to reconnect with your bodies, both whilst naked and clothed, is the way to start. However you have changed physically, your mind and soul are you, as much as they ever were. Arousal is also a mental exercise, not just a physical one.
Experiment and play with arousing yourselves through speaking and behaving in as sexually provocative / confident / explicit / forthright a way as you possibly can. This will enable you both to hear, see and feel one another as the sexually desirable people you always were. Consider the lighting, how warm you would like to be, or even try al fresco in a private setting.
Give yourselves time, allow one another to make mistakes and really and truthfully, “just relax and let it go.” No barriers, only entrances to a new and exciting love life.
Patient advocate Maria says...
Patience is definitely key when it comes to reconnecting with your sexuality. There isn’t a particular time frame for it to return, and you may find yourself feeling in-tune one minute and then feeling out of sync next. Be opened to exploring new avenues to reconnect sexually, for example, booking a nice massage session for yourself or both you and your partner. With the new way of life now, most companies offer a mobile therapist to come to your house, which might help you feel even more relaxed and intimate.
You can also consider planning a staycation or time away from everyday life and mundane routine. Being in a new surrounding might open you up to trying new things sexually or give you the opportunity to fulfil particular desires.
Meditation is always a great tool that can be utilised to help you reconnect with yourself and your partner. If you can allow yourself to be open and not pressured, you will be surprised by how practicing regular breathing or deep breathing can open you up to new experiences.
Co-founder Joon-Lynn says...
Being on tamoxifen (and the possibility of being on it for 10 years) has definitely lowered my sex drive. Finding desire has become conscious work, physically, mentally and emotionally. One thing that helps is expanding my relationship with pleasure in ways that writer and activist adrienne maree brown lays out in her excellent book Pleasure Activism. She talks about pleasure as a practice of learning ‘ways you can increase the amount of feeling-good time in your life’ and creating ‘more room for joy, wholeness, and aliveness (and less room for oppression, repression, self-denial and unnecessary suffering) in your life.’ As a self-sacrificing Capricorn in recovery, I am making room for feeling-good time by frequenting my favourite udon restaurant where my lips and mouth slurp down silky fat noodles; by choosing a track that gets my centre of gravity real low into my hips to hug a rhythm; by wearing yellow because it makes me feel like my body is wrapped in sunshine; or by working on something that is deeply aligned with my values because it makes me feel really really good. adrienne also says ‘yes! has a future’, and this has become a mantra of sorts, giving me permission to let pleasure lead me to where I need to be.