😱☺️ ‘I’m too sexy for my cancer’ ☺️😱

‘Im too sexy’ by Right Said Fred

I’m too sexy for my car
Too sexy for my car
Too sexy by far
And I’m too sexy for my hat
Too sexy for my hat
What do you think about that?

So, in my previous posts I dared to introduce the discussion on sex and cancer. I have absolutely no regrets! Do you know why? Some of us want to talk about sex, I am being encouraged to and be demanded to do so!! 😂

This post’s song has been kindly suggested by another supportive friend, thanks hun 😉 everyone is getting into it, cancer or not! This week I made a HUGE assumption about the topic of sex and I was so very wrong!

When we think of cancer we do not immediately think of individuals losing their sexual confidence, neither do we think of sex as being a priority, we tend to gravitate towards thoughts of death and suffering. My cancer Clinic Dancing Partner (rest in peace) was once visited by a friend to see how he was getting on. The first question he was asked was, ‘so how’s your sex life?’ My Clinic Dancing Partner fell about laughing as he relayed the story to me. I too laughed but when the laughter was over I said that his friend was pretty brave to ask this question but he had a point. When someone is diagnosed with cancer or any chronic condition we either clam up and ask no questions or we ask questions of little relevance. This is by no way a criticism of people who are trying to support you at a critical time, it is purely an observation as I too am guilty of this. Anyway we continued to discuss sex and what it meant for both of us post diagnosis. No matter how much pain or turmoil we undergo, the desire for basic human needs never leaves us unless it becomes hormonal, surgical or it is stress related- we will still grieve the loss of intimacy. Whilst the desire may wane the basic human need pops up from time to time. So what should we do? Pretend that we no longer desire or yearn for sex? Act as if we are Androids programmed to never desire sexual intimacy again? Who exactly are we trying to please here? Whose life is it? Sex is not illegal, dangerous (unless you’re jumping off the wardrobe to swing on the lampshade or not using protection where you should, such as condoms) or dirty so why do we clam up upon hearing the word sex? How did we all end up in this world? Our parents had SEX, yes they did! 😱😂

These days there are so many options available to enable each of us to participate in a healthy sexual lifestyle- there’s no need to forego your needs, basic human needs. If you have scars from surgery or external devices which help the body to function such as a stoma bag, how about experimenting with ‘dressing up?’ Who says that sex has to be butt naked, in the bed with the lights off? Who wrote that outdated manual? There are a whole host of fancy dress costumes, sexy lingerie and much more to disguise the areas which make you feel subconscious. Obviously you will need to discuss this with your partner so as not to cause any embarrassment if you suddenly jump out of the wardrobe dressed as Batman and your partner screams and runs out of the room! Communication is key to this new approach to your sex life being a success. Where you are seeking a new partner you have the option to look into like-minded people so you both know what to expect from the offset. If we can discuss bills and world news on a daily basis, we can discuss our sex lives! Bills and world news can be depressing yet we dwell in this space, having sex or discussing sex tends to bring the opposite set of feelings and emotions so why not talk about it? I can appreciate how cultural, religious and personal sexual beliefs can influence our approach to sex but when cancer is thrown into the mix, we should at least try to understand how hard and fixed personal beliefs can ruin a sex life and individuals.

If you decide to dress up, you do not want to feel uneasy or not know what to do next. How about designing your own ‘role play?’ The purpose of role play or dressing up does not have to end in sex or love making but fun and a sense of re-learning intimacy in your relationship. Have you ever wanted to be the hottest female actress playing Catwoman? Well why not explore the outfits she wears? Many outfits have ‘cut out’ sections in all the right places so you can indulge in sex without the need to get undressed. Some people may refer to this as ‘kink’ but to me it is what it is, and if it fulfils the purpose, then it has been a success. There are lots of trusted online sources to purchase. Dressing up as Catwoman may be a little extreme for some of us but there are other options such as masquerade masks or a bra across the eyes which may help with being shy or self conscious. Just think, behind this mask or bra lies all your fears, your partner cannot see them…

Try it out, explore, review and absolutely enter into conversations around using dressing up as a way to invigorate or re-ignite your sex life post diagnosis, remission or whatever the position as lots of us will remain in stage 4 for life…

‘Be ‘too sexy for your car!’ 😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉

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😉👄 ‘Work it out’ 👄😉

By Beyonce

‘How ya doin’ hug me baby
You know I don’t ask for much
But for a girl spendin’ time alone
Can be pretty rough’

My previous post, ‘Let’s talk about sex’, opened up the conversation in and around sex and living with cancer. Sex is a subject which is rarely, if not mentioned at all whilst you’re on this journey, certainly not on mine. So if laughter is deemed to be a good medicine, why isn’t sex? The truth is it is! Much like laughter, sex is an holistic remedy for many people. Unless you make the decision to purchase sexual services, sex is free and is there to be enjoyed. So why do I ask myself are people living with cancer and many long term chronic conditions, often excluded from this conversation? Why are we not being asked about the impact of which cancer can have on our sex lives? When we blossom into the wonderful world of adulthood as teenagers, we are taught about sex and reproduction. When we move into the sphere of post pregnancy, as women we are advised about sex through maternity services but when we move further along our journey and become chronically sick, sex seems to be off the table – literally! So why do we stop being spoken to at this stage? Why is sex suddenly a taboo? Why does sexual conversation become the elephant in the room? Don’t get me wrong, cancer can come along from the moment we are born, so it is possible for the same conversation to be absent as soon as cancer enters the arena at any stage of the journey. Health professionals may discuss the fertility of a child living with cancer with their parents or carer but do they enter into conversations around the world of sex? We can appreciate that saving the life of a loved one is of utmost priority but how will cancer treatment or radical surgery impact a child later in life? The answer is I do not know, perhaps someone could share their experience by commenting on this post.

Personally, I am 2 years post cancer op and sex has not been mentioned. Whilst I appreciate that not every patient wants to talk about it, some do, I do. We need to start talking, to learn how to navigate the mind, body image and existing and new relationships during and after cancer. We already have much to contend with so adding another layer of personal turmoil is really unwelcome and at times, unnecessary. If we have been through major surgery and/or cancer treatment which can be pretty tough, we need support to ‘fix’ the other side of us too -sex. Can you imagine how emotionally debilitating it must be for someone who previously enjoyed the pleasures of a healthy sex life pre-cancer? It can wreck a relationship, destroy the emotional wellbeing of the partnership and create social barriers to meeting new partners no matter what sexuality you happen to be. How do we explain our pain, our scars, our lack of confidence in our sexual performance, how do we do this? How do we support the partners to help themselves and the person living with cancer? Do we ask that sex is never to be explored again within their relationship? Are we saying that it is more important to think only of saving lives, that nothing else matters? If this is the case, why are we encouraged to return to ‘normality’ (whatever this looks like) to go and live your life when you are told you are in remission? This smacks of contradictory advice. If we think about the statistics on cancer survival, the rates are improving as more research provides us with innovative treatments. This means more people will live longer with cancer. Therefore, we must find a joined up approach within the healthcare sector to start having healthy discussions around sex- we must! If we continue to dismiss this important area of people’s lives, over time we will pay the ultimate price in increased mental health concerns, social isolation and rising costs due to GP and A&E visits.

Somebody needs to sit down and begin these conversations.

‘We can work it out’…

A huge thank you to a really supportive friend who recommended this track for the post, 🥰

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