Lack of affection, anyone else feel like this?

I have now done 5 out of 6 chemos following a WLE and SNB. During treatment, my partner and I have sustained a reasonable sex life, not as often as before but still alive and kicking. However, in between times I find it very difficult to be affectionate. I remember the same feeling after the traumatic birth of my first son; I felt then that I had been so “invaded” by the various medical staff and procedures that I wanted to recover my sense of self for a while, and that’s how I feel now. Sometimes I just want to shout “Leave me alone!!”

I have talked to my husband about it and reassured him that it is not that I have gone off him and hopefully I will feel more affectionate soon, but I know he is hurt because he is a very loving man and I also know I am very lucky to have such a supportive partner. Should I just pretend? Does anyone else have experience in a change in their need for affection? I see other people on the site saying that they are maybe going off sex but enjoying extra affection, I am the other way round!!!

Thank you

Louise x

Hi Louise, I know how you feel you cannot feel sexual when your body is being pawed by all and sundry. I do not want to be touched any way affection or sexual. I feel de-humanised and very numb, to feelings . I get very angry , sometimes weepy and absolutely peed off with the whole business . If one more person tells me to be positive, I’m sure I’ll black their eye. I had WlE and SNB had six chemos , I have my Ct Scan this Friday and hopefully Rads start about 7 to 10 days after my scan. I still have inhibitions about undressing and showing my boobies so Rads are gonna be awful for me. I want to shout to everyone it’s my body b/dy well leave me alone. BUT it is something I know has to be done if I want to get a few more years out of life… Love Bobbie

Thanks Bobbie, I share your feelings about the “positive” thing. After all, my cancer test came back positive!!! I am often told to keep my chin up. My rads start mid July and I am sure I will feel like even more of a piece of meat than I do already

Louise x

I’m with you in not wanting sex, although I do really crave cuddles and clear signs of affection. To be honest, I can’t see that I’ll ever have sex again…we only made love 3 times in the year before my surgery, including the night before my op. From that base, I doubt we’ll ever start again, which really upsets me a lot. Far more upsetting, though, is the lack of cuddles. When I was first diagnosed, hubby would hold me tight in bed in his sleep…but not any more.

I’ve had 2 sessions of cranial-sacral therapy and have another planned next week. I hope that helps settle me. From what my therapist says, there’s so much going on in my body that I’m probably pushing hubby away physically without knowing so maybe when it all settles down after treatment ends, things will be abit more normal. At least I’m lucky to be with a man who’d never cheat and have lots of cuddles from my kids.

I hate this f***ing disease and the treatment with a passion. Sure, by the time I’ve got my wig and prothesis in place and spent a LONG time making myself up I can still look good bit it doesn’t stop me feeling like sh!t and so very, very old and unclean.

Sorry to vent. I really, really try to live in a nice little pink and fluffy world and most of the time it cushions me and helps make all this bearable but some days, I just can’t keep it up.

(Ann slinks off to try to count blessings…)

i thought it was just me, although i didnt mind the embarrasement of rads, sexual intimacy has flown out the window immediately after dx and has not returned at all. i cant bear my husband touching me ive had to explain that although ive only had a WLE mentally ive had to cut that part of myself from my body, thats the only way ive coped.
i never asked for it, i never wanted it so whats there to be positive about?

Ann yes I feel suddenly old, too. Maybe your husband is frightened of hurting you, I know after my op, mine was really reluctant to touch me in case it hurt. I hope your CS will help and there’s nothing wrong with pink and fluffy if it helps. Although I do think that other people can pressurise us to appear less distressed than we are and it can help to REALLY get it all out in the open. I am seeing a counsellor, which is really beneficial.

My problem is different from yours in that we are still able to have sex, and I do want to… but I don’t really want the cuddling bit at other times, especially when I am sleeping. I think I am the other way round to other people I have talked to…it feels as if I am being dispassionate somehow. Good luck with your treatment.

Louise x

annamarie I think people tell you to be positive cos they dont know what else to say. I always look at them and think “yeah…I can just imagine how you would be if it was YOU”

All the very best

Louise x

Hi all

I have put below for you the link to BCC’s publication of sexuality and intimacy, it may be of some help to some of you:


Louise, I think you’re probably right about hubby not wanting to hurt me. He’s a strong ‘blokey’ bloke and very protective. Had to laugh about what you think when people tell you to stay positive! I usually op for, ‘I’ll do my best’ while wondering quite how bleedin’ ‘positive’ they’d be…Anyway, if you can mange sex, good luck to you girl! Have one for me! LOL. It just goes to show, we’re all different. I must admit, I’m slightly envious.

Anyone else in travelling distance of St Albans? I got a letter today about a breast reconstruction info day. I want to find out as much as possible, even though that won’t be on the cards for a while as I hope that having a plan in mind will help me feel more ‘organised’ and in control of my body. I’ve still got rads to look forward to but I don’t think the embarrassment will be a problem. Since I’ve lost my nipple (sorry, that makes it sound like it fell down the back of the sofa!) I don’t really recognise what’s left as a breast…more of a random body part. (Quite similar to annamarie, I guess?)

Apart from the lack of physical affection, I must say, I’ve been so warmed by all the good wishes I’ve had from all sorts of different people, even those who hardly know me. It does help.

Ann I am up in North Yorkshire. There is a thread entitled where do we all come from? which might be worth exploring. But I am sure there will be lots of poeple who can advise you about reconstruction if you put a thread up.

Would you feel able to say to people (whether your husband or a friend) “Ooh I could really do with a hug”? or just snuggle up to him in bed yourself? I know this bl**dy disease can make us lose confidence. I have had a WLE and it amuses me to see people trying to look at my boob/cleavage to see if they can tell the difference. Only one friend has been brave enough to day “I am sorry I just have to look” and I said Ok and just stood there (with clothes on, lol)

I can understand you feeling that you are now separate from what used to be your breast, maybe it will help to have the op and as you say, to feel you have a choice. So many choices are taken away from us with this BC

Take care

Louise x

Iam the opposite from everyone I want sex and all the cuddles I can get but OH isnt the cuddley type so unless i just hire someone for cuddles iam out on a limb so anyones hubby wants a cuddle send him my way LOL


I am 8n months on from surgery and have had no intimacy at all from my OH …not even a hug …i couldnt bear the thought of him attempting to touch my recon boob as be it is so bloody hard and painful and I have resigned myself to the fact that i will prob never have sex again … he will prob go and find someone else or maybe he already has …who knows … I wouldnt blame him ,what is there to fancy about me ??

I too am now feeling really low I wear my bra in bed although i didnt have recon but scar is quite bad and my OH is big on boobs so dont want him to see it also I have lost my hair and now feel a total freak I want him so much to tell me I still look sexy but he doesnt. I dont think the relationship will last through this the price we pay sometimes can be very high. I waited 8 years to find someone and when I do this happens life can be so cruel.


Since my OH had not wanted sex for five years before my diagnosis I doubt that he will ever want it now. I’m not young (in my fifties), but it hurts me to think that I will never experience a sexual relationship again.


Hi justme

Have you talked about it or is it something that just happened over the years


Just reading through this I could have written your post Just Me, except i am in my 40’s.
Some days i cry because i have this deep longing to be held and to have sex again.
People say ‘talk about it’ but i have until i am exhausted. My OH is generous, hard working, and has always been a great dad to my kids. We get on very well in every area BUT NOT in the physical and emotional, which is a very very large part of a relationship.
I often think i i hadnt had BC and more confidence and also was not religious would i still be married, but i am.

I just go quiet when friends talk about their sex mad hubbys and deep down am envious.

We should form a support group, now what would we call it ???


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Me too missing the action what ever, I too will never have a physical side to my relationship it wasnt fantastic B4 BC but now nothing I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never have that feeling ever again .My friend in work is always at it …lucky her .I just know deep down that my OH hates the way I look and it just aint gonna happen …I wouldnt know what to do now if he initiated it …its been so long xxxxxx

I hope you won’t mind me teling you about a very special relationship that I have found. It will seem to some very strange but for me it is beautiful.
Following the most terrible experiences when I was young and married, I decided never, ever to have a man near me again. I had two children by this relationship and brought them up by myself. I remained celibate for thirty years. Then I started to chat to this lovely man, just about the weather etc. no thought of a relationship. Anyway I knew that he was gay.[though not active now] Knowing this I had no inhibitions about chatting and being friendly to him, I knew that he was not threatening.
Then we sort of bonded and developed a very deep and loving friendship,
He has absolutely no hang ups about my body [he doesn’t want it!!!], and we can hold each other and cuddle and snuggle and stroke,not intimately, but lovingly. He calls me darling and beautiful, I never was and am certainly not now, but I know he means it.
It will seem odd to many but in my love for this dear man I have found everything II wanted.

Oh my goodness this site makes you open up doesn’t it?

Margaret that is lovely,and good on you.
As some of you know I was married day after dx and it has been a hard struggle.I am convinced he was sent to look after me, as I am sure my ex would not have given me as much love and support.Sex has been infrequent unfortunately, but he holds and cuddles me, tells me I am beautiful,rubs cream on my radiated boob, and on the whole makes me feel special.
I have been promised sex on the beach when we go on hol, but not sure if he means the cocktail ha ha.
It is hard for some men to cope so I know I am lucky.