Have you or someone you care about been diagnosed with breast cancer? Are you currently seeking treatment — or are you in recovery and feel unsure of the steps to take to get back to a “normal” sexual self-image? We asked our resident sexologist Dr. Celeste Holbrook for insight and science-backed advice on ways survivors can begin to feel sexually confident again.
Sex after Breast Cancer: Go from Surviving to Thriving
By Dr. Celeste Holbrook
If you or anyone you care about has ever been diagnosed with breast cancer, you know how disorienting and disruptive it can be. When choosing and pursuing treatments, your focus has been on survival, and with good reason. But there is more to life than just surviving. I have worked with many women who have come through to the other side of treatment only to face difficulty getting back to their “normal” life. This is especially true when it comes to sex. Entering back into a happy, healthy sex life after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment can feel daunting. But I know from my work with my clients that there are steps you can take that will bring you from surviving to thriving — in your bedroom, and in your life.
1. Establish a positive relationship with your breasts
Work to establish a positive relationship with your breasts, which may mean understanding any negative relationship you have with your breasts. Whether you had a mastectomy, lumpectomy, radiation or reconstruction, your relationship with your breasts has changed. Take time to write down how you feel about them now. Here are some prompts to get you started: What makes you angry about them? What are you grateful for? Do you feel like they are still unknown? Do you have emotions surfacing about how they look or feel? Do you need to grieve any loss of sensation? How do you feel about your partner touching them? What communication needs to happen between you and your partner, so they know how to respect your breasts?
2. Work within your comfort zone
If you aren’t feeling entirely up for being bare-chested during sex, consider buying some fun new lingerie or an oversized button-down shirt. You can pair the shirt with your sexiest panties and leave as many (or all!) of the buttons undone as you like.
3. Create new sexual associations
Try new sensations on your breasts to create new sexual associations. If what you did before breast cancer diagnosis and treatment doesn’t feel good to you now, try to make a new pleasure association with your brain. If you experience some loss of sensation, you may want to try an arousal cream on your nipples or use a flavored lubricant for your partner to lick and kiss. (See below for recommended products and more.)
4. Go slow and show your body compassion
Remember to go slowly, and give yourself and your body lots of compassion. It has been through significant trauma and may need some time to recover…even after your treatments are over. Be patient. Your sexy, sensual side will return.
At Velvet Box, we are passionate about helping all individuals achieve the intimacy, connection, and excitement they deserve. Stop by one of our six DFW locations or shop online to find the products and advice you’re looking to explore. And for more insights from our resident sexologist, please check out our on-demand sex education classes where Dr. Celeste will lead you through a wide range of topics from how to combat low libido to how to (discreetly) construct the sexy bedroom of your wildest dreams.
Recommended products and classes
Intimate Earth Flavored Lubricant
Allow your partner to kiss and lick you all over by adding a dollop of Intimate Earth Cheeky Apples Flavored Lubricant anywhere you want to feel an exciting touch. This staff favorite is made with all-natural apple flavors and organic stevia for a delicious taste and texture.
The perfect companion (and it’s cute too!). Made for you and your body, the Womanizer Liberty stimulates the clitoris with no direct contact. Gentle air vibrations suck and massage together at the same time to provide an unprecedented orgasmic feeling.
DONA Kissable Massage Oil
Sit back and enjoy a sensual massage with DONA Kissable Massage Oil. This aphrodisiac and pheromone-infused oil will trigger intense tactile sensations that release stress to help you relax, plus it’s just plain sexy. Non-greasy and sweet dessert for your masseuse, too!
Ignite Arousal: Combating Low Libido
This one-hour course discusses and explores the most common sexual complaint of people in long-term relationships—low libido. Learn the culprits and discover the solutions to create a sex life that feels effortless, connective, and pleasurable. Click here to view.
Build a Sexy Bedroom
In this class, you’ll learn how to craft a bedroom retreat that invites erotic play, while leaving stress and the burdens of responsibility firmly on the other side of the door. Click here to view.
About Dr. Celeste Holbrook
Many of you may know our resident sexologist, Dr. Celeste Holbrook. Whether it’s through one or many of our intimacy classes with her, or perhaps you’ve been following her incredible Instagram all along (if not, we highly recommend you give her a follow). But for those who may not know her yet, Dr. Holbrook is a sexologist, speaker, and author who has dedicated her life to helping women achieve soul-centered sex through perfectly planned mental and behavioral changes. Learn more about Celeste and her journey as a sexologist on her website at drcelesteholbrook.com.