has any one read this in the Gardian?

Hi everyone I was wondering what you thought of this information given by Dr Pamela Stevenson about Chemo and Sex ??


Do you mean the advice from Pamela Stevenson?
Please could you include it in the thread, so we can read it?
Thanks, Helen

Yes, I read it. To be honest, it made me quite angry. I fail to see why someone undergoing chemotherapy is advised to have a physical relationship (whether that goes into full intercourse or not) with her partner if she doesn’t feel up to it. At least, that is my interpretation of the reply. I would have advised the poor woman to dump her partner at the first available opportunity.

Found it, it’s very graphic, and to my mind, insensitve and totally unlikely. She can have no idea how a woman undergoing chemo feels. It made me furious, as it sends out completely the wrong signals about the support women need.

Sexual healing

Pamela Stephenson Connolly
Thursday February 7, 2008
The Guardian

Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

what a load of C**P…and who the hell has ever felt like having sex a day or two after having chemo!!!

Irene…I too would tell him where the door was.

perhaps someone should tell Pamela Stephenson Connolly that Breast Cancer is NOT a sexual disorder but a life threatening disease.

Helen…you are right this gives out the wrong signals about the kind of support we need.

I’d be only too happy to give him precise feedback…‘’ p*** o** ‘’ !!

karen x

“Use pillows to get into a comfortable position”?!?!?!?!?

Reminds me of the old joke about what to do if your old man is lying in bed moaning gently…press harder on the pillow.

Yes I find this article insensitive.

“Use your imagination to keep up your erotic bond. When you are too tired to do anything else, try telling each other erotic stories.”


Well Pamela, Use your imagination, and try and imagine what it may be like dealing with a cancer diagnosis and all its hellish accompaniments.


Hi Sam, BCC facilitator

That’s OK. As posted originally by Jingle, it can be read on…


Pamela Stevenson is the Australian (?) wife of Billy Connolly, ex actress/comedian, as is her husband. Guess that says it all - she is not an Oncologist nor trained allopathic medical doctor, just a psyychotherapist/psychologist, and perhaps should keep her opinions on life threatening breast cancer to herself, until she walks in our shoes. Her attitude and opinions are very patronising to those of us coming to terms with a life threatening disease. What we need are scientific evidence and current meds, not psycho-babble about sex. Wonder how she would want sex when trying to decide which orifice to lean over the loo with vomiting and diarrhea at the same time. How The Guardian could even think of printing her objectionable article is beyond my comprehension. Hope one of their editors reads this post and gets to grip with reality.

Thank you, everyone. I thought I was the only one who found it objectionable. I’ve just emailed a link to this thread to the Guardian Reader Editor and suggested she might like to pass it on to Ms Stephenson.

And Crazy Dancer, thanks for the joke about the pillow!


Know what you mean, ladies. But as I read it, Pamela Stevenson was only answering the lady’s question. She asked how she could get in the mood and an answer was given. Personally, sex was the last thing on my mind during chemo, as I’m sure it was on my husband’s. He’s never made any demands on me.

Good luck to us all.

Good point GrannyScouse. One day I may learn to engage brain before opening mouth.


I think the thing which is objectionable about this piece is not that Pamela Stephenson is graphic in her descriptions but that she doesn’t answer the woman’s question which is about how she can get in the mood for sex. (And I guess some women on chemo do want to have sex). No what’s objectionable is that she writes about how to pleasure the b*** man. Now isn’t that just typical?

I am bemused about why both this site and another I use felt they couldn’t publish the article, only the link to it. Can’t abide Pamela Stephenson’s writing myself but don’t think censorship helps!


I believe that on sites such as this and the other one you read Jane that it is an infringement of copyright to reproduce an entire article from a newspaper. In fact on The Guardian website where this article was produced it clearly states:

“You must not reproduce any part of guardian.co.uk or the material or transmit it to or store it in any other website or disseminate any part of the material in any other form, unless we have indicated that you may do so.”

Where the link to the site is provided I do not see how removal of the text of the article can be construed as censorship.


Ah that explains it…thanks Dawn!


What bothers me more than anything else about the Stephenson answer is that other women in a similar position might read it and construe it as an instruction to have physical relations, even if they don’t feel like it.

And yes, Jane is right, she does not answer the question of how to get in the mood for sex. In fact, nowhere is it acknowledged that there may be times when sex simply is not appropriate, or that the woman could ask her husband to wait a bit more until she feels better.


Just found this thread and wondering how the article would have been written if it was the man who had cancer. Take for example prostrate cancer which can affect a mans libido as well as other sexual functions. Can you imagine the outcry if a woman was asking for sex all the time. Wouldnt happen we are the more caring understanding and dare i say stronger sex!

Have to say this article made me laugh out loud. Ms PCS has so clearly not experienced either cancer or chemotherapy…and no mention of the fact that apart from how we feel physically, the fact that we are completely hairless and usually suffering with myriad minor complaints from oral to vaginal thrush, skin problems and of of course nausea…while we probably won’t have sex at the top of our list of priorities - our partner probably doesn’t either…

(I wonder if she made up the question?)