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Love, Intimacy, and Breast Cancer

What now? Here are insights on intimacy from women living – and loving – with breast cancer.

How do we re-create the "mood?"

The best way to get in "the mood" is to really like each other. And the greatest aphrodisiac for many women is a considerate husband. Several women say that their husbands looked at their chests before they could bring ourselves to peek. "You know, honey, it doesn't look that bad," was all the women needed to hear to fall in love again. A guy who massages your neck, or comes home with the groceries, starts to look real good.

You can bring romance back into your relationship long before you resume sex. If you're uncomfortable with your appearance, wear pretty lingerie to bed. Light the room with candles when you go to bed, even if the two of you are just going to talk. Take a shower together before bed. You'll feel more romantic if you feel fresh.

What else can we do to create intimacy?

Intimacy is far more than sex. Sitting on the couch with your husband as he massages your feet creates intimacy. Going for a walk in the crisp autumn moonlight creates intimacy. Even reading together in the same room strengthens your bond. Find quiet, soothing activities that you both enjoy.

What do I tell a man who asks me on a date?

It's probably best to tell the man you had breast cancer before you go on the date. If he doesn't want to go out after you tell him, he's not good enough to be in your life.

The single women in WebMD's breast cancer community have handled this delicate task in very different ways. When a man asked one woman out for pizza, she said matter-of-factly, "I can't go out Friday. I have cancer and I'm in chemo that day." He paused, and then said, "How about Sunday?"

Another woman would wait until she had dated a man several times. It was easier to tell him after she knew him better, but harder on her if he never called again.

So, be straightforward with the man. Tell him you're in treatment. On some days you feel good, and on some days you feel lousy. If he can accept this, and tells you he wants to take you out on the good days, you've found a good guy.

Reviewed on August 01, 2004
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