Life without sex

Hm, hope I picked the correct category, maybe should have gone for Living with Breast Cancer

Yesterday (or Monday?) I heard the Woman’s Hour health piece and it talked about the increasing number of couples living without sex, for various reasons. It was interesting to hear that the main age range started at 25 and that a lot of young men chose life without sex - seems better to say that than celibacy somehow.

The main thrust of the piece “Is it possible to have a happy celibate relationship?” I think you can download (to iPod and the like) or re-play it on the BBC website if you’re interested.

I daresay many of us have low libido during treatment but I wonder if sex drive returns or not? If not are people ultimately happy to carry on with partners on a platonic basis and if so, why. I cannot imagine that my sex life is over because of BC and yet right now it couldn’t be further down my priority list.

Anyone else got strong feelings/experience on this.

I realise it’s a sticky subject that some may choose to block.

My periods stopped with the first cycle of FEC last November; I had rads in between followed by Taxotere which I finished in June. I had an extremely difficult time on Taxoltere and am now on Herceptin until next April. I am only 46 and was perimenopausal when diagnosed. I have had sex once since my periods stopped, that was a few weeks ago and was quite difficult. I do however feel as if my libido is very slowly trying to come back, but am going to have a chat to my onc about it at my next appt. I have been told my periods may not come back and I don’t miss them anyway, but after 23 years in the same relationship I miss the intimacy of what we had. My OH puts no pressure on me, he just says things will come back when they are ready to and that he fels my body needs to get back to normal.

Hi Regina, since the day i was diagnosed (6th June this year) my sex drive just took an nose dive, from which it has never resurfaced, luckily my hubby is very understanding, we have been married for 20 years, and can live without sex, yet we used to have a very healthy sex life, but now its more of a case that i get myself better, we have tried a few times, but its not been great, but we can reassure each other that our love is very strong, i am happy for just a lot of cuddles which i get tenfold, so am very lucky.


Hi All,
I think is quite ironic really, most people who have a low libido actually have a partner. I split with my husband of over 20 years about 18 month before diagnosis and I dont think I have ever had as high a sex drive as now. I think for me its maybe a case of wanting what I can’t have (nothing new there then). Anyway its good to here you all have such supportive husbands or partners, cherish them because they not as common as you may think.
Good Luck to you all & hopefully none of us that dont want to will have to live a life without sex.
Take Care & Best Wishes for the Future
Judy X

Judy… :slight_smile: I guess it goes with “who has bread, has no teeth; who has teeth, has no bread” sort of line.
I am also single - and good sex would be welcome, if anything to *feel* alive… :slight_smile: occasionally, I wonder if I really will never have sex again…

This is a difficult subject for me to comment on. After my op, which was “only” a WLE (in comparison to other ops that others have had to have) I was so ashamed of my body and totally embarrassed - something I had never felt before with my hubby. He was great - kept telling me over and over that he married and loves ME not my body - he says that even now - 3 years down the line and over 1st heavier. I am only 5ft and now weigh 10st, he calls me his little cuddly dumpling!!! Yes sex is difficult for me because of the medication and menopause - my doctor would you believe it called me “a dried up old prune”. I know I am now 50 years young but don’t consider myself past it just yet. Without being too rude there are others ways of being intimate together without penetration - oops hope I haven’t gone too far here, now giggling with embarrassment and making myself laugh. My Mum would die a thousand deaths if she read what I am typing!!!

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that if you have a loving relationship sex should not be a priority - it is a very nice added bonus to have but shouldn’t make much difference if for whatever reason it doesn’t happen. That’s my opinion anyway.

Love K


I agree with you but I am shocked at your doctor - I hope you gave him a good smack on the mouth!

Actually Snowwhite (maybe on hols right now) wrote a good few lines about sexual disability from BC which I thought was quite a good way of putting things for some people.

I think the menfolk put up with an awful lot and still love us despite everything. That said, I’ve also read that BC divides as well as unites. Have you read the article “After Treatment Has Finished” - google for CCT, it’s in there along with a few other good “papers”. One woman he consulted with wanted to change her whole life and started with her husband! An extreme case I’m sure.

Anyway, here’s to hugs and cuddles.

I printed off the “After Treatment” article and read it in bed last night as OH is away in London for a few days. As I haven’t been on my own at all in the past year I was worried about how I would feel about him needing to be away. I found this article brilliant, a real help with regards to managing your feelings and trying to move on (although in many respects I know I am doing that).

The best bit is, although I was a bit upset on Tuesday evening about OH having to go off yesterday, I’m actually absolutely fine! Got up this morning and figured I had made it through the night (slept well too despite the kitty hogging the bed) and that I will be fine until Monday. TBH, I have got a very long list of things to attend to, including writing copy for my husband’s website which is currently under construction. Maybe this break will do us a lot of good as a couple - I think OH needs to be without me for a few days.

Hi Cherub

Hope I am not speaking out of turn, it will probably do you a world of good too to be on your own for a while. It will prove that you can cope on your own and that you can do the things you want to without having to consider anyone else. You can be silly, shout, laugh, dance, stay in your jimjams all day if you wish, anything at all. Take this time to become a little liberated and enjoy it. It may put a spring back in your step and hopefully the same for your OH. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Love K

I do that anyway Kelly lol, luckily i get most days to myself now, so i just go at my own speed, even organise my appointments so i don’t have to rush!!!

Oh Alison, you do make me laugh. I can’t seem to type a humorous thread to save my life, but I do like to join in. I do think sometimes though I go a bit too far and end up making others angry or upset, never intentional, I know I get on my high horse sometimes, hubby often says Neddy has entered the house when I am off into one of my “put the world to rights” moments. I had 3 hours on my own last Friday, my son went off to bowling with his friends, normally go with him but wander around the shops so I am close by, but this time his friends said to stay home and they would make sure he was kept safe. After a few nerves I calmed down and boy did I have a great time, went on the computer, turned the radio up really loud, frightened the life out of my builders with the singing (not good at the best of times) and generally did everything I don’t normally do. Did that 3 hours go quick though! Anyway, perhaps we could all dance and sing in our jimjams to loud music and start a new craze. Singing to “I will survive” by Gloria Gaynor comes to mind, must have a glass of wine in hand at the same time.

Love to you

yep, a glass of wine in hand, the empty bottle behind you!!! you’ve never made me angry or upset, i think you put things very well on here, i think sometimes we just don’t always like what we read as it rams it all home!!!


ps, any quality time on your own is good, i dedicate at least 3 hours just for me a day, i normally have more than that, but got to prevent myself from becoming a recluse!!! thank god for schools, and men who have jobs!!!

Hi lilith
I know exactly what you mean. I sometimes have that same thought. Living with BC can be a very lonely place, its even lonelier when you have no-one to share it with. Thing is even if I had the opportunity not sure I would dare take it as I feel so self-conscious about my body now. I used to think my Boobs were my best asset, now I hate to look at them myself sometimes never mind let anyone else see. Looks like it may have to be sex in the dark, oh well better than nothing :slight_smile:

I was meant to be having my recon touched up next week after waiting a year, (implant smaller than natural boob so needs replacing, also position not quite right) just got letter this morning its been cancelled. Have to wait till xmas now. I am absolutely devastated. God knows when I will be-able to have my uplift on other so have a matching pair again. Cant wait for that :slight_smile: I think i will show them off in town, he he (laughing to myself) I know that would be really naughty but I just want to be proud of them again :slight_smile:

To all you lucky ones, I know sex isn’t everything in a relationship. The closeness and affection is much more important but when you have neither, good sex seems like a great place to start lol :slight_smile:

Love to you all X

HIHI Judy… perhaps I’ll start a thread “dating while on chemotherapy”… what do you think? *grin*

Hi all
I’m back from hol and still obsessed with the sex I don’t have! If I don’t ever have good sex again my op will have been a waste of time, it would have been better if I’d died. Bottom line. Marriage without sex is pointless. There are lots of men I don’t have sex with, but I expect to be closer to the one I’m married to! It is only the hope that my present “disabled” condition is temporary that keeps me going. But from what my body is telling me, I am going to have to relearn sex in a disabled amputated body if that is possible. Perhaps it was overoptimistic to expect that to happen quickly. Quickly? It’s over 2 and a half years since my op. Nobody explained to me that it would be this way. Which makes me very very angry as so many of you seem to have the same. They should have raised it because it is an effect of the treatment and it is too hard for a patient to raise that as an issue when you’re on their territory. They’ve seen hundreds of people. When they told me there were about 47 people in the room all looking at me (“This is how they are when you tell them they’re going to lose a breast write that down in your notes”). How sensitive. I still relive it most nights.

Has anyone out there had this experience, of having to relearn their own body and responses, and has this been successful?

Love to you all, xxx

Hi Snowwhite

All I can say is try and learn different ways and have fun while you are trying, it is hard but none of us knew right at the beginning what we were doing, just learn to do things in a different way. Hope this makes sense without beging too graphic!!!

Love K

Hi lilith
Sounds like a great idea. Can still I join in, been finished my chemo over a year now. Got a great head of hair, much better than before. Shame I cant say the same about my sex life he, he, he, (I’m giggling like a little school girl). Oh well I will just have to keep dreaming :slight_smile:
Take care
Love Judy X

Hi guys

Thought I would put a positive note on this. I actually feel a lot closer to my hubby. I was always a very independent person. My confidence has took a major dent through this, not used to having to rely on people. But I now realise how much I have needed hubby emotionally, and he has been there for me. Consequently I have been all over him, (he hasn’t complained!).

Don’t get me wrong, I cried throughout our first encounter, post mastectomy, so things haven’t been plain sailing. Things have changed, I have had to realise that my boobs and face are not the things that always turn him on, I only have to stick my leg out of bed these days, (generally because I’m hot!!), to see that glint in his eye.

Keep trying girls, you and it, are worth it in the end.



I just want to echo what helfire has said really. I too have felt soooo much closer to my boyfriend since I was diagnosed and had my mastectomy in March. I was 34 at the time and had all the usual body image issues that accompany bc. Thankfully this has brought us even closer together, and athough I have been on chemo since may we still have a very active sex life. Things have changed slightly, in that I always opt to keep my bra on, my prosthesis in and then wear a cami top over the top, but apart from all that its pretty much business as usual for us.

Defo keep trying girls, it is worth it!


HI all
I’m trying to imagine how I would feel if I was in love with a man who was sexually compromised in some way. I consider it would be terribly sad to fall in love with a man who didn’t have a penis for example. Or a man who’d had prostate cancer and had his prostate removed. Or testicular cancer in both testicles. Would the love be enough? I come back to: I don’t have a fantastic social life but I know and have known a number of men who I like a lot and don’t have sex with. So how is my relationship with my husband different from that now?

Yes we have children, but that isn’t enough. The children will grow and leave home. I feel what has happened to me is putting distance between us, we don’t have that initmacy any more and I want it back. It’s only the hope it will come back that is keeping me going - the hope that this is a setback and not the end. But sex with any clothes at all just misses the point for me. I don’t mind showing my body. I do show it. It is that my body now is not erotic. To me, not to him. Hiding it would just be saying - that part is no use any more so hide it. I need it. Sorry. Just hoping I can eventually adapt to being without it. A recon might help but what I look like naked is crucial because with a prosthesis and clothes on we look fine don’t we. So a lopsided scarred unsightly mound is not going to help. And it’s not just about looks.