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Returning to a sex life after recon

IreneM
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

There have been so many good points raised on here, but Clarabell has certainly summed up my own personal situation. Looking back, nearly 3 yrs, just after my op I asked my other half to look at my scar, he refused, all be it politly and kindly, he simple felt squeemish. Knowing what I know now, I should have insisted. It was 2 mths before he would look and by then it was very hard for me to show it. It was all so uncomfortable emotionally, that I think that was the starting point to the deterioration of our relationship.

If pushed he says it doesn't bother him what I look like, but sadly he he does nothing to make me feel this at any other time, and sex is excruciatingly painfully embarrasing with the man I have been married to for 31 yrs, who used to rip my clothes off and get so excited by the thought of what was under my skirt, bra etc. Now it's dead and lifeless, noone can tell me thats nothing to do with losing a boob.

It's too much of a coincidence that the sex life stopped after the boob was removed.

diepcat
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi everyone

Hi Clarabelle, so glad you've had a lovely week away. Just a quick line re the 'wearing undies' posts. Personally I was referring to the twee leaflets and advice from the 'professionals' about returning to sex life after recon and being made to feel that we ought to cover ourselves and modify things now that we're 'imperfect'. They don't even touch on the more gritty issues that single and partnered women have to face. I think the way you've managed to work it out with your OH (& have an OH that wants it back too) is fantastic, extremely encouraging, and goes to prove Jane's comment about hope for people who have good loving relationships with partners who knew the 'before BC' partner and still want to. I agree that OH's suffer too and it's a 2-way thing. Unfortunately, though, there are too many OH's who back away and don't want to put it right, leaving their partners feeling desolate. Definately not knocking you (wouldn't dare - I'm new here! :-)), just the sometimes patronising advice from 'professionals' who really haven't been there.

Lots of love. Cathy x

Clarabelle
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Wow! such a lot has been said on this thread whilst I have been away - (1 week in the sun, got back yesterday and had a fab time).
Lots of you have commented on my post re wearing sexy underwear and keeping the top on but many of you seem to have taken it the wrong way - I did not mean that I hide or cover up my scar/recon but wear sexy underwear to make me feel good about myself and 'normal' again and for me it works. In the first few weeeks after my mastectomy I fully understood that my hubby may not want to see my scar during love making and I was uncomfortable with showing it but when we discussed this we both agreed that it was not an issue for us and we were glad to resume our love life to how it was pre BC. In fact it is better than ever because having breast cancer has made us both realise how fragile life is and that either one of us could be taken from the other at short notice so we now enjoy each other more and treat each day as if it were our last.
I think our OH's struggle with it all more than we do - they too grieve for our lost breast, they are upset we have had to go through this and feel helpless and at a loss of what to do for the best - they cant do right for doing wrong and so withdraw. It is not their fault yet I think we sometimes take out our despair and anger on them which is unfair. My hubby wanted sex but didnt think I would with one breast, and vice versa - I didnt think he would want sex with a one breasted woman but we were both wrong and if we hadnt been open and honest with each other I do think we could have slipped into the position a lot of you are now in. However, I do think I had to make the bigger effort to show him that I was still the same woman underneath with the same needs and desires and by making the effort to look good and dress up a little as I did before diagnosis, made me feel good too. How many of us used to enjoy making the effort for our other halves but no longer do?

diepcat
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Well Jane, for what it's worth, you have my wholehearted admiration and respect. Why? Because you had the guts to try ... & you've helped me to believe that one day I will too. I hope you don't give up. Thank you x

Hope today's going well for everyone - sunny here! xxx's to all. Cathy x

Jane
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

All the dating advice I got was complete rubbish and based on the man seeing my true worth despite my deficiency. The restaurant guy was a really nice man - he is not some selfish so and so and he was genuinely upset at not being able to accept me, warts and all. But i revolt him and that's the simple truth; i didn't revolt him before the m-op and recon, but i do now.

And it is a dilemma, whether single or partnered about when and how much do we reveal and risk the hurt.

And I am jealous of all the lovely girls with their own pair - i can not bear to see other women's naked boobs, so I am a prude. also do think that the advice we get about sharing erotica or porn, lingerie reinforces the idea that we are not enough without additional stimuli for the man. Love to all xxx
Love to all

diepcat
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Good morning ladies (and any men looking for tips on recons ..:-))

OK Mazaroo, I'll settle for wishing you well on the catwalk lol! Like your flowers by the way. Must put a piccy up there myself rather than the egg balancing on upturned brekkie bowl!

Snow White - not surprised about the American BC leaflet but incensed (here we go!) about the prosthesis bit. A lady at work pulled hers out on me and plopped it in my hand and believe me, the thing weighed a flippin' ton! Yes it looked fabulous in clothes but I'd like to see whoever wrote this leaflet (assuming female), having a passionate clinch while wearing one of these in, say, this senario ... 'they kiss passionately etc, & frantically tear off each others' clothes and then' ... the prosthesis drops out and gives him a dead foot (and a dead something else!!), umm, very passionate! *note - I apologise uneservedly to any ladies (or gents) who do manage, especially in new relationships (er, could you write a lealet?!) - no offence intended* x

Jane, thanks for your reply re dating. Talk about 'beautifully illustrated'. I've had so much 'advice' from women and BCN(!) about how to begin dating with a recon, ie, 'Well, if he's worth it, he'll be fine with it' or 'Oh, you may meet a few (a few!!) men who'll react badly but you'll soon find one who's OK'. Well, 2 points. Firstly, in defence of men, it would take an absolute stud to 'carry on performing' as if nothing had happened, so then we have to tell/warn them - and risk the crushing reactions you've had, if we tell them early on (and how many of those can you take until you're so deflated and robbed of confidence that you give up). Secondly, we could leave it until he knows us better, and we've started to develop feelings for him and then really risk getting our hearts broken (and possibly break his if he genuinely can't handle it (oops, pun!)). Sure, he may stick around for the right reasons and become 'the one', if so, then bingo!

Of course, it's no easier for women in long term situations although, thankfully, some have partners who can easily accept the changes the BC brings. But how many have to face the loss of formerly loving attentive husbands who suddenly find them unattractive - especially when society/media keep throwing perfect bouncy breasts at men every minute and some men really believe that they're all real and that it's the woman's fault if hers fail to make the grade!!

Having said all this, I still won't give up .....!

Lots of love to all. Cathy x

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Cathy that would be good wouldnt it !!! Dont think I can carry on like that as my family and boss will be there ....its £150 ticket so I will have to behave myself!! mental pic tho pmsl !!!!!!

Jane
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Actually that's the site i was talking about. I think the advice is really poor and I think fails to grasp what sex between two people is supposed to be about. I could no more have sex where I have to hide myself in shame than I could torture puppies. I emailed them too.

Sno - my recon is not pleasureable when touched, for me or the hand touching it, in fact I ususally don't know it has been touched and have bruised it on occasion without realisisng - makes you wonder what they think anyone is getting out of groping a falsey or a recon.
.

Maybe I just lived a sheltered life????

snowwhite
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hello all, and diepcat, love your rants, feel free!

Just thought I'd mention something amusing on this theme: on American breastcancer.org, as well as the usual on keeping our clothes on, letting him enter from the rear for fear of offending his sensibilities, and permission from them to masturbate, they also say "a prosthesis feels just like a breast under clothes" - I had to email them and say how ridiculous that was, I told them my husband would no more fondle a milk jug than a prosthesis and even if he did, it would be a private matter for him because I certainly wouldn't know about it.

Dear God.

love, sno x

Jane
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hey All

Good luck Scarlett xx! Maz, well done, if it helps, just do it! And Manou, Reg, Juliet - I hear you. Cathy, I have not really kept in touch with exes - my last love is with someone and he was very embarrassed by the news that i was "unwell". He has avoided seeing me and that is okay because it all ending badly between us. I have had a few dates - one with a guy who liked me before diagnosis but I think he was thinking breast cancer Kylie-stylee, not chemo pallor and m-op. I thought I would be casual sort of explaining it to him (third date). I remember the words - I waited till he asked when chemo ended as I was due a cycle a few days after and then said "So there's only two more cycles to go and then hopefully back to see the surgeon for some cosmetic work". He said "What cosmetic work?" I said "Just tidying up my reconstruction". He was calm at the time and just said "Oh, I'm sorry". Then after a few minutes he went to the toilet and did not come back. I called a waiter who said he had paid the bill and left. Last I saw or heard from him until a few days later when I got flowers saying "Sorry - I can't deal with that".

Other guy i dated; it was going well and we were in a clinch after a lovely evening - he reaches up and touches the recon - pulls back horrified - this is almost funny and says "God, what is that?" presumably because it is very hard. So I told him and he looked like I had admitted torturing puppies. End of.

I do get asked out but I just do not know where all these men are who desire women just as much post bc! I am sick of silly platitudes about it all and thank God for you girls! My "real" friends just do not understand and tell me such b******t about how lovely I am and how no-one would know. I read something the other day on another bc site where they had an expert psych Q&A about sex and she said most sex takes place in the dark under bed clothes - I reckon that is just how out of touch "experts" are with real people's sex lives.

Good luck all

Jane x

diepcat
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi ladies

Hi Scarlet, Good Luck for today, hope all goes well. You could always tell counsellor to come on here and read how it really is - for now at least :-). Having said that, I have to say that the sheer 'in your face' honesty here is one of the most poweful healing experiences I've had. I may be wrong but I think by being able to wallow a bit and spit venom if necessary (in this envorinment with friends who really understand) is surely a good way to begin (hopefully) retarting and feeling OK with a decent sex life without inhibitions or shame.

Hi Mazaroo. I'm so chuffed that you're doing the show (even tho' I don't know you, from the way you write, I think this is one huge confidence boost and although I agree with Manou's comments about the 'highlights & lipgloss survivors' hype, for you I think this is a perfect opportunity to stick a giant finger up at cancer!! I'd love to be able to get up there myself but would probably get thrown out after getting over excited and screaming something like "Hey cancer, f*ck yeeeeew!!" Sorry, just had a funny moment ... you weren't planning to do that were you? 🙂

Hi Jane. Being a single bod myself and idetifying with so much of what you say, I wondered how far down the line you are and if you've found yourself able to be comfortable around people who you find attractive. I've so far told 2 x partners (the only 2 I keep in touch with) about my op and I have to say it's gone really well. One's a bit squeamish but it doesnt matter as I'm never going to be physical with him again. The other's been an absolute diamond, genuinely interested, offering help (without patronising). When he looks at me, there's not a scrap of pity in his eyes, just the same admiration that's always been there (how the hell did I let him get away?!).I think this backs up your comment about people who have known you or been in your life for a long time and knew the real you 'before' - although I appreciate that this hasn't been the case for everyone here. Of course, I'm nowhere near meeting a new partner yet and certainly wouldn't take the risk without the fab new nipple that I'm going to possess, but once that's in place, who knows!

Oops, rambing on again, just so passionate about this subject!

Beautiful day here. Lots of love to everyone. Cathy x

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Good luck Scarlet xxxxx
Manou ...I will admit that I will be one of those BC survivors on the catwalk of the BCC fashion show in October..but only to prove to myself that I have the confidence to get up there in front of all those people and feel confident about myself and my body image and if this helps other sufferers then great I am proud to do it ....It is going to be the hardest thing in the world to do for me but I am glad to be given the chance to do it ...my OH and family will be there perhaps he may percieve me differently ..who knows and maybe most of all I may see myself in a different light ! there is life after breast cancer certainly albeit not quite the same as before x
LOVE YA ALL

Maz

scarlet
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi all
I should be in bed,but I have my appointment tomorrow and feel a little anxious. My main concern is that I will let my barriers down and give the poor counsellor a mouthful...I have grown so used to feeling safe on here and the other site, to be able to be the real me, when none of us know eachother...somehow the anonimity makes me feel able to say it how is. I don't want to walk in there and be all 'yes, I'm fine,' blah, blah,blah...but equally I must remember it is not her fault, not anyone's really..I just hope that I don't feel patronised...Well, we'll have wait and see and I'll let you know how I get on.
Reg...I too cry mostly at night, just after lights out, a kiss and I love you...
The saddest thing is, we really do love eachother...I just don't love myself anymore.

Wish me luck!!
Scarlet.

Manou68
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi everyone. I've been away and out of touch for a bit. Reading back through all these posts - it is just amazing that the real story of life after BC is so completely different from the one promoted endlessly in the glossy magazines - before I got this - I'd flip through heart warming features of breast cancer survivors in 'super charity fashion shows,' starring Mrs Ultimate Survivor who simply 'didn't have time for breast cancer,' so carried on as normal - and look at all these 'lovely ladies' before and aftered shining with their highlights and lipgloss. Is part of the problem this cavern between reality and the fiction that is consistently rammed down our throats every October? I understand that lots of this has provided invaluable funds for organisations such as this one - but where do we read about the anger, the grief, the loss of self, the damaged relationships that are the true face of life after breast cancer - at least for many of us...?

Reading the posts made me realise as well how angry our OHs are - and some of what you write - about everything ending in a row - not being able to broach subjects etc and about everything being turned round to become our fault - well I thought that was just me - and you're right about the fact that it no longer seems worth not saying what we think and feel. What have we got to lose? And that they don't like that - it changes the balance of things. I've suddenly realised that I've been doing this - and that is what is interpreted as me being aggressive - it's just not being passive and scared about rocking the boat as I have been for the last 20 years.

The financial prisons this illness creates only make things worse. I am now desperate to find a way to increase my own earning potential -and I realise that I'm looking for a key to freedom - and maybe a better balance of power - whatever that means. I am quite sure that every single one of us is still attractive to someone - but not necessarily the one who has watched us grow and change and become our true selves - and that is just heartbreaking.

Anyway - thanks everyone for this incredibly reassuring thread and the opportunity to offload - and for giving me some real insight into things...

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Juliet hi ....you refer to the mags under the bed ....I have stood behind mine (unbeknown to him )when he is Skyping ....he says he uses it for work !! not with the comments I saw he doesnt !!!!!
I have got to the point now where I dont even fancy him any more ..and to be honest cant remember if I ever did as I have changed so much so just gonna get on with it xxx

diepcat
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Evening all!

Maz (thanks for your welcome) and Jane - thanks so much for your comments - I was a bit worried I'd kind of butted in with my rant(believe it or not, I'm quite shy!) but everyone on here with fire in their belly on this subject have really made me feel normal and not some sex crazed maniac (understand your comment there Jane) who dares to still contemplate sexual activity past the age of 40. Interesting - the one thing that could make most of us feel a whole lot better is the one of the first things that we're expected to readily accept giving up (or modifying!) and damn well deal with it. The result? Unhappy or frustrated husband/partners who may or may not feel driven to look elsewere - and the effects on others around us.

I accept and respect that not everyone has sexual needs (some have 'gone off it' and some naturally don't desire it anymore and that's fine). There are also people who can take it or leave it. It's those of us who still want to be passionate, still want the thrill and to feel sexy (and yes, to the snarly husbands, still even have sex with you - they didn't choose this disease you know!), who can sometimes be made to feel uncomfortable.

I'm off to feed my face for now so no long rant, just lots of love to all (and thanks again for letting me in 🙂

Cathy x

PS: Julie - hi, sorry about hubby stuff. So painful. Who's the beautiful dog? Now there's a love you won't find too often (lost both mine and miss them far more than anything)

juliet66
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Dont forget to add me to your list ladies !!

I have posted before.
I have the categorical assurance that my double recon has no impact on his sexual feelings towards me.Ha!
He says has just changed, grown older and lost his sex drive.
The magazines under the bed tell me otherwise.

I have tried to discuss it, and failed. I have given up. Along with the interest went the affection. Guess that is just it !!!

Jane
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Diep - I can identify with so much of what you say and it makes me crazy that we all get thse platitudes from the well meaning. Everybody, Scarlet, Maz, Sno, anyone I missed - we all feel the same so why does it seem so alien to medics esp BCN's, who are supposed to be counsellors and communicators about the ops, to understand???? I have been made to feel like a nympho because I miss my sex life and other women were pointed out as shining examples of coping and "moved on". And have they? I bet quite a few live sex free or damaged lives and smile through gritted teeth.

Love to all

Jane x

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Cathy .....I am loving it ..said like it is a girl after my own heart .....love the fake it or f**k it bit .....Quality words ...welcome to the gang !!!!!!!

diepcat
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi ladies, please forgive me for crashing in here but Wow! Sno White, Regina & all the other likeminded ladies who have written, thank **** for honest people like you who stand up and tell it like it is. It's OK (in fact it's a godamm right) to feel angry about what's been taken (albeit sometimes temporarily) away from us and for all the other people in our lives this bloody C thing has affected through no fault or choice of our own. Boy have you lot released the beast in me - would you bear with me for a couple of mins? (then tell me to get lost if I'm too much:-)!)

Brief intro: I'm 43, single and have had diep following DCIS which had just started to turn invasive (would have 'got me in 6 months') so no choice but to have M op (disgusting word with so many negative connotations!). I'm grateful that I've been lucky enough to have an op which gives me most of my boob back (apart from a small round patch cut from my belly where areola and nipple were - nice!!)). For me, losing the nipple was the most crushing part initially and how many times was I told 'oh, you can cover your breast' and 'there's more than one erogenous zone you know' (no, really??! how DARE they!), to which I replied. 'I know but for me, during sex, everything's on the menu and I don't wan't to hide a part of me away like some ashamed monster, why should I?' I've also heard, 'You'll meet a lovely man who'll love you for who you are and it (breast) won't matter to him'. I WANT my boob - both of them, to 'matter'! Also, I don't want a man to patronise me - I want passion not pity!!

Oh sure, the diep is a wonderful operation and the results look OK (will be even better after a recon nipple even if it can't feel anything!) but don't these well meaning people ('learn to love yourself', 'be positive' etc) realise that part of the grieving process is to vent anger and frustration and it is a right to feel pretty p*ssed off with everything which has been taken away without a choice, before getting to the 'love me' stage. I'm lucky that I only have to have 5 years tamoxifen (wouldn't dare complain as god knows how many people have to do chemo/rads & worse), but it's still not great.

God ladies, I could rant for England but I'll shut up for now as I have rather 'butted in'. Slightly different ending for me: I WILL have my sex life back (I'm not going to be sentenced to enforced celebacy at 43, I'll decide when sex stops thanks - even if it is only with me present for now - eek, did I just say that, yes I did!). As for wearing twee little cami's to fool a potential partner? No thanks. If I do decide to wear sexy undies/use props etc, it will be because I want to or for fun NOT because I have to. After all, even if I fool the man by 'covering up', I wont be fooling me and aren't I supposed to enjoy sex too? I'm a lover not an actress!!

My motto: If I have to fake it then f*ck it!!

Love and thanks to all of you & thanks for tolerating me (if you didn't fall asleep during this rant). Nighty night.

C xx

Regina
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Scarlet

Very much with you on the being brave and appearing to be living just as nefore and still socialising and laughing and crying inside, always crying in silence. It is true "laugh and the world ;aughs with you, cry and you cry alone". I cry at bedtime most nights, just tears of grief mostly, for loss, for such unbearable loss ...

You most definitely are NOT alone.
Reg.

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi All ....Irene thanx for your compliments xxxxxx Update my other half is really making an effort ....... not on the sex side that has gone forever but just being civil,which makes home life more bearable without the bickering I can cope a bit better ..I have gone along with it just for the sake of peace as I have resigned myself to the fact that this is my lot .I am not in a position at the mo to change it so I will just plod on with the brave face and the pretence and let everyone around me think that life is good I am too old to start again and upset my whole family as it would just come out of the blue as they have had no indication of what has been happening ...I sometimes wonder is it me ..just in my head has BC changed me so much and I cant see it .? who knows but i look around me I have a lovely home ,nice car lovely kids loads of clothes jewelry and things so I should be grateful ?? But sometimes its not just about stuff!!!! is it but like i say this is how it is so I better just get on with it and stop craving for something that I can never have and making myself unhappy xxxxx
Maz

scarlet
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Thanks Sno
I think that honesty is a very hard and brave state of mind, God knows I spend a lot of time kidding myself, faking it, laughing and being 'normal'. Honesty with one's self is hard to face, we sometimes don't like who we are, what we see, how we see it and to face that is hard. It is also brave because when we do face it we know very well that it will be so very painful...so we have to choose not to be honest most of the time. Sorry, I'm talking in 'we' when really I should not generalise such a fragile subject, however, I do think that at least we do have each other and for all our different views, lives, marriages, relationships and diagnosis...we do understand eachother...even when we all don't agree.
I find strength in knowing that I am not alone in feeling bereaved and also that being 'brave' on here and about this to eachother is very different to the being brave that friends and family refer to. I often say and I guess I believe, that my family and Hubby had a worse journey than me...it was so painful for them not to be able to take it all away..my mum just wanted it to be her..so very hard for them all. But, now I find myself still trapped on this journey and now it's more complicated because it is not all about a physical thing...operations, chemo, rads etc...now it is ME and my feelings and goodness me that is a very complicated place to be. No body, who is not in our position has any real idea of the horrors and undeniable heartbreak that we face each day and that we have to deal with.
Sorry, don't mean to sound negative....just need to share, if you know what I mean.

All the best
Scarlet.

snowwhite
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

scarlet - you put it in a nutshell. So clearly. I'm so sorry, scarlet and I so feel for you, we all do I know. Why can't the professionals acknowledge what everyone who is a human being knows, the elephant in the consulting room.

Why are they pushing - yes, pushing (with screening, with breast awareness campaigns) - for people to come forward for treatments which essentially offer the choice between death and dismemberment, with the disablement that comes with that? and not at least acknowledging that this is what the choice is, that it is horrific, that some people would prefer to die intact, that the choice should in any case be ours. And that they have the deepest sympathy and will do what they can to help us salvage a life, but that they recognize that it is a terrible thing to be robbed of something so fundamental to life, to a relationship, that is highly likely to kybosh an existing relationship, and make it difficult to form a new one, that the nature of any relationship we can now have is going to be different. It is all so obvious. It is an insult for them to just keep lying to us that the treatment gets us back to normal, as we were. They ended life as we knew it, and only people who are falling short of honesty will deny that. How can we respect such people? How can they respect themselves?
sno

scarlet
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

ok...so I have had a glass of wine....but I wonder where this leaves me....I think that Sno and Maz have put into words so much of how I feel. I have just recently sorted out a date for counselling, I am very synical about it and really fear theat I will come accross the 'able bodied' counsellor who will tell me to try a silky camasol. I feel that I have a loving and understanding husband and get really peed off thinking that things could be worse, but the truth is, I feel that I have been robbed and I agree, that it is at the very least a disability ...I see it as a disfigurement, a complete violation and a I am bereaved. I wish I could have put something more consructive...don't get me wrong, as I have already said...he loves me and me him...but it will never be what it was and we will never be who we were and for that I am bereaved. Why am I on here at this time of night?!!

Best wishes to all,

Oh Sno and Maz you have said it all...

Scarlet.

IreneM
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Well my OH turned on me verbally the other night after an off the cuff remark I made regarding him ignoring me. I really touched a raw nerve, and so as is per usual, we ended up arguing. He was soooo unreasonable, nasty and his comments about me and my behaviour were simply not true!

So We slept apart again, and I wrote him a letter, even though I said I wouldn't anymore coz he never responds. This time it seemed to make a difference though. In the letter I tried to explain how I feel and why I think he is like he is. I mentioned the lack of sex and how I think it is affecting him too.

The next day he was civil, even smiled and chatted. I've cracked it I thought. Then tonight he jumped down my throat on 2 seperate ocasions and so I can see there will never be any respite from this. I will either have to accept that he is now mr grumpy the grumpy man and walk away when he is nasty. Or leave. I can't afford to leave. When I was in recovery and on 1/2 pay, my OH refused to return to work (11mths). In that time we not only spent our savings to live on, but had to use the overdraft too. I am quite bitter about this as I think he was irreponsible and caused me added stress. Anyway, because of that I have zero cash to set up home elsewhere.

It's all very depressing that I see my life spread out in front of me with no love or sex or intimacy other than the odd hug from a friend or relative. I know for shaw that this wouldn't have happened if I hadn't got bc, lost a breast and become the person I now am, a person he can't love or relate to.

Maz. I am tempted to agree with some of the other comments. You really should show him that his behaviour towards you isn't going to rob you of your life. I've met you. You are attractive physically and personality wise. You are a lovely person with a great sense of humour, and you deserve more (as do I)!

Irene

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi Polly sue ....know exactly where you coming from ....feel free to PM me if you wish to talk more in depth .

pollysue
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi

Can associate with mazaroo.. with regard to men.. I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in April 2008. My 'partner' has since been finding solace in internet chat rooms and erotic (for want of a better word)txt chat forums. All starting back to when I was in hospital for my breast surgery. His excuses are pathetic and in my present state of helath and mind I don't have the energy to deal with this...

Dahlia
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Blimey - you were up at the crack of sparrows!

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Regina ........you have said it all xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Regina
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hello Maz, hello all

That sounds just like Lionel Blue ...

I know what you mean, it doesn't enter my head that I could enter the sex competition on "sports day" - I don't feel that I qualify to take part anymore. It's not a happy state and I'm not sure it's unhappy either now, it just seems that life will continue like this. Two people living under the same roof and not even having such thoughts, no lust, no looks or anticipation, no brushing by, no anything remotely erotic - just let me hide and don't look at me. How long can it continue I wonder? This limbo?

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi all ....I dont let him pull me down ..we just lead separate lives but in the same house ...however just lately he has been making more of an effort but as for sex ...thats down to me cos I dont think I ever could now its been too long ...I am sort of happy in asort of no choice kind of way ...if you know what I mean !! thanx for all your support it means the world to me to know that you really care and take the time to listen and offer advice xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

juliet66
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Been waiting for that Anne. Good on you. Is fabulous. You are an inspiration!!

Julie

junieliz
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi Maz, please don't let this man pull you down. I had a mastectomy one year ago so know where you are coming from not feeling like a woman. My husband of 40 years is brilliant I know I am lucky to have him and he has been my rock. You have to believe in yourself, what is to be will be, I have my down days as we all do, you have to pull yourself up and get out and about. I know it's not easy but you have to do it. Join a night class, meet other people, let people see you for yourself, and you will then believe in yourself. All the best in whatever you decide to do but please make that step on the road to recovery. You can do it. love junieliz

AnneTh
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi
I haven't been mutilated like most of you, I just have a scar on my tum from an operation in which I was diagnosed with advanced BC two years ago. I also have a big tum currently from development of ascites and am on chemo to try and get things back under control.

I'd split with a partner before I was diagnosed but he has remained a very good friend since. For ages after my diagnosis, I wanted him back but he had moved on to another relationship. Anyway, I did really well on hormonal therapy but was hurt by my feelings that I could not be seen as an attractive WOMAN anymore. I thought, who would want me, knowing how advanced I was?

Anyway, I set myself a challenge and (can't believe I'm going to admit this here) I went on a very nice, small dating site, looking for male friends - I wasn't looking for any form of relationship other than that- I just wanted friendly banter with males who knew from the start that I had big problems. I felt as if I was conducting a survey! And the results of it were, that there are many nice men, who will happily chat with a woman who is affected in some way or other by BC. I eventually met someone, who, in spite of everything, turned out to want me and eventually, love me. And vice versa, bonus!!!
Even if we split tomorrow, I know I have experienced a loving relationship again, post-diagnosis and yes, I feel like a woman.
Basically, I'd say, in this life, we will only get what we need if we really want it and ask for it and life is too short not to ask for it. Intimacy and cuddles are important as anything else for both partners- the rest can follow. It really shouldn't come down to whether or not we have both boobs, it should come from much deeper than that. We are still WOMEN.
It's funny, this theme of men and sex and should the woman just satisfy her man to keep him on an even keel, not always when she feels up for it, has come up in several places in the media recently- loose women, she mag etc and it sounds as if that debate is going on in many places, not just between women who have had or have BC.

Anne xx

PS Maz, I bet you still are an attractive woman, don't put yourself down. While he is choosing this babe-magnet car, get out there and get some killer heels or anything that reminds you of who you really are. I shouldn't say this but he is acting like a real t*****!

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi Sno ...... I am not certain that there is someone else ...just feel like there is if you know what I mean .....anyway I have put up with a lot worse xxxxx

snowwhite
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

If the man is put off by the body at that point then he is looking for a body not a relationship. Moreover, and in a way it is not surprising, he wants what he thinks of as normal sex and it has never occurred to him that he could get involved with someone who is a little different. He, I would imagine, would never contemplate a relationship with a disabled person, a wheelchair user...etc. however deep and interesting she might be. I can understand this; if you are not disabled yourself, you expect to meet an able-bodied partner. You don't see yourself in any other way. Disabled people certainly know all about how other people see them...or don't see them at all because they are not looking at them...And now, here we are, finding ourselves in rather the same boat.

However, this leads me to the conclusion that such a man is considerably more interested in his own pleasure than anyone else's, and isn't likely to form a lasting relationship. I think it is worth, for that reason, not disclosing about yourself too early in a relationship, and not embarking on a date that is based on the understanding that sex is part of the deal and is going to start pretty soon. That may give you time to assess whether the guy is man enough, and human enough, to sustain an interest in you because you are you, and whether he actually cares about your feelings and not just his own, and whether he has the generosity and open-mindedness to embark on an adventure into new territory...and while it feels terrible when you are alone and don't have someone, there are many women who have found new partners after bc, and also women who say the sex is still good, and mean it(that is the bit I can't work out, but it gives me hope). So if a guy can't stay the course, he has failed, you haven't. Be glad you're shot of him. How was he ever going to be any use to you?

Maz it is terrible that your man could do that to you when you have been through so much; and terrible that some woman could do that behind your back, presuming he has told her - does she think he will stick with her if he can do this to you? My gut reaction is to think that if he can afford this fantastic car, and this other woman, then you should be reasonably comfortable after the divorce! But perhaps that is too drastic, and might be the wrong impression anyway - but if he is doing this because he feels cheated of 'sex as we knew it', normal sex, good sex, whatever, then somewhere along the line he has to recognize that you too feel cheated of this, and more so since it is your body that has been violated, and he has to feel and show compassion for you - not pity - a recognition of what it feels like for you, how it might feel for him if he had his penis amputated or prostate cancer or whatever. Whatever becomes of your relationship, whether it gets through this or not, he must if he has any human decency, take the time to think about how it is for you, and have a heart and say so.

No I don't think we will ever have normal sex lives. But maybe we will have sex lives - and straight after my op, before it, second rate sex wasn't good enough, the whole thought was horrific to me, so I guess that is what these men are thinking too - but now, I am thinking that maybe I could have an abnormal sex life and maybe that would be good enough. Better than being a female eunuch. Second best, but a step up from where I am now. But I don't think the sex can be any good if the relationship isn't, and also not while we are still traumatized by the ordeal - so just those two great hurdles to jump, and then everything will be hunky dory!

sno

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Jane I am 100% with you on that one ....thats my lot ..the way it is xxxx

Jane
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

I'm going to be depressing and I hope I do not upset anyone. I am not much more than my body, I am my body. And the being drnssed to kill is all veryw ell but trust me, the minute you tell them you have had bc and a reconstrcution the look ofhorror is evident and they are in no hurry to seal the deal.

I wish there was a way back but there isn't and the truth is some of us, despite counselling and trying all tho tricks will not be able to resume normal sex lives.

L:ove to all

Jane x

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

I am only joking with the sign offs !!!! I really dont know if I can be bothered to even get him interested dont even know how I feel about him any more too much of an effort and as for having admirers ??? they arent very forthcoming haha 🙂
Thanx for taking the time to reply xxxxxxxxxx

Clarabelle
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Oh Maz,
you can do lots and I would start by rocking the boat - get dressed to kill and go out on the town and enjoy yourself - you are still an attractive woman and I have no doubt that you do have admirers - there are men out there that would still want you warts and all - maybe you need to show the other half that this is the case - It will go one way or the other - he will be upset and jealous and want to talk or he will tell you he doesnt care and announce he is leaving - either way it should stir up a response! and stop with the unloved, unsexy sign offs it does nothing for your self esteem - believe in yourself and believe it when people compliment you - you have lost an important part of your body but not all of it - we are much more than breasts!
Clarabelle xx

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi sno ...no you havent been too frank ... I could never see my OH going for that and its true what you he probably wants an attractive woman on his arm ...just let me say I am still that attractive woman so i am told look good for my age blah blah blah but we both know that this is not true ,,maybe superficially .yeah .
So back to the story ...the promotion ....the new office... the fit women ...he is now buying a new car !! not just an ordinary car areal flash powerful eyecatching job ,phallic symbol ...a veritable babe magnet !!!!!! whatever you want to call it ..I have never seen him want something sooooooo much and my guess is by the end of today ...it will be almost his !!!!! I think that he is definately out to impress someone and it isnt me ! he knows me better than that the only positive side is that he is almost bearable to live with as the last year or so has been dreadful I have been so close to leaving but having no money of my own to speak of and my daughters wedding in September ..It wasnt the right time if there ever is one ..so I wrote him that letter telling him how I felt ...still no comment other than he has read it ...so here I am ...sexless ..unloved and mutilated .... no I dont feel sorry for myself I am just angry at the carnage this bloody disease causes and
am so jealous of you ladies who have loving supportive husbands sorry for ranting seem to have lost the plot this morning ....but thanx all for being here as it truly does make me feel better .xxxxx

Maz ...the unloved x

Clarabelle
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Sorry, forgot to say...
We went to relationship counselling only but you can also go on and have sex therapy for couples afterwards if you want to. They like to get you talking as a couple before embarking on that one though!
Good Luck
xx

Clarabelle
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Here, here sno!

I know from first hand experience that counselling does work.
Like you and many others this whole experience has changed me.
I used to be so laid back and have opinions but kept them to myself but not any more!! somebody once told me that having cancer gives you a licence to say what you think and this has been so true for me.

My husband is my absolute rock and worships the ground I walk on and would do anything for me if asked but I never asked. Being at home I believed it was my job to clean, wash, cook, bring up the children go shopping do the gardens etc even throughout treatment but one day it hit me!

What on earth was I doing? - here I was with a potentially life threatening disease and carrying on as normal and things had to change and boy was he shocked! All of a sudden his lovely housewife decided to voice her opinion in no uncertain terms and he didn't know what to do!

He said that he didn't like how I had changed since cancer - even tried to put it down to my early menopause until I made him realise the error of his words! I told him the only change was that I now didn't care if I upset people by saying what I thought!

Well after 24 years of being the dominate one it did cause major problems so I bought him a plane ticket and sent him away for two weeks to think about our relationship - when he came back I did a Shirley Valentine and got on the next plane out of the country and left him in charge of the kids and house for the first time in 24 years and that nearly tipped him over the edge lol!

The upshot was that when we were both home again we realised that we needed help - I was bitter and so was he so we went to Relate - something I said I would never do but gave it a go and it was nothing at all how you expect - they got me to tell hubby how I was feeling about cancer our relationship, life in general etc and then he did the same and from that they then picked up on areas that needed working on and gave pointers into how to get back on track - and it worked.

We have always been very close but I always felt taken for granted but now he helps out 50/50 and I am now able to ask him to do things for me which I love! We both feel lucky that we were prepared to fight for our marriage and came through the difficult times absolutely in love with each other and stronger than ever.

So sno, go for it - it has to be worth a go doesn't it?

Clarabelle x

snowwhite
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Also like to thank you Sue for the apology - I don't doubt I put my big feet in it too often myself.

This might be a case in point: I just don't think this will go down well, but it is a thought - don't know what others think about this, but have been considering dragging my husband to relationship counselling because, with a good counsellor they can help men to discover and articulate their feelings and really can get couples talking again, constructively. It has been known, it can be done.

I know it is not always going to work, and I know a lot of men would no more see themselves resorting to this than to wearing women's underwear, but I think it is worth a shot. I think it is worth pointing out to them that they may have to reconsider what they think is acceptable, and how much they are willing to mend the relationship, and how broadminded they are prepared to be. You can also have relationship counselling on your own and maybe drag them along later.

And I think that men have a responsibility in a relationship to participate in the work needed to develop, repair and sustain it and I personally am not interested in a man who is unwilling or unable to do that when hard times come. I can forgive if they find it difficult; but not if they won't budge, won't talk, and are making you do all the emotional work. It could be that this experience is one which brings out what kind of man he is, what kind of relationship it is, what you want, and whether, and on what footing, it has a future. I cannot go on wanting from someone what they cannot or will not give, and if I need things he won't provide then I will make my own arrangements. I will take the consequences.

My problem is that my partner is a totally decent human being. But I have changed. Like Irene I have become - in some ways - stronger, to cope. Before I think I was too dependent which suited him and now somehow I have grown up (just a bit) and he needs to adjust to that, but frankly I don't think he likes it, and I am wondering if it is a change too far which opens a gulf that can't be bridged. I am no longer sure I want to be with him because I see him with new eyes. He has done nothing wrong. I just see things differently, and I can never go back to being who I was.

Maz - I feel for you over that crucifying look. He sounds like a guy who wants to be with an attractive woman, and for whom that is part of his self-esteem, and he is having trouble facing the fact that the woman he is with is not now that fantasy. But that is shallow and if he is to meet the challenge of real life, rather than remaining that immature kid, he needs to ask himself what he wants from a woman, what he wants from you, and what he has to give to a woman, what he thinks he is giving to you, what use he is in this real world where stuff happens and beauty fades. Would he eventually have discarded you as you got older anyway? And when he is old...? Perhaps he is thinking about what he has lost, which I think is entirely legitimate, because he has suffered a loss, as we have. But so have you, and he surely also must see and feel your pain. Sorry, I hope I haven't been too frank.

sno

mazaroo
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi Sue ..dont feel bad as Irene says it is a difficult one to to talk about unless yu are there !! believe me it is not the most pleasant of places to be ...my OH has no interest in me sexually at all as previously posted .he has just been promoted and now works at a new office where "" all the girls are well attractive " and probably all in tact methinks ...well lucky him he must be in heaven !He doesnt seem to think how hurtful a comment like that is .
I do often wonder if he seeks or is getting satisfaction elsewhere,which of course is certainly not an option for me ....AS IF! He used to be so jealous and possessive of me before BC hated anyone even glancing at me ...but now .not at all cos he has categorical reasurrance that a)No one would want me in my current state .b) I would never be able to embark on that sort of relationship anyway for obvious reasons.c)I am no longer attractive

So I go through the motions every day ....work ,housework and mother stuff...we get on but like housemates which I have resigned myself to the fact that this is it ! This fecking disease has a lot to answer for ..and not everything is in the leaflets !

Love you all for being there
Maz x the unsexy one

IreneM
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Thanks for the apology. I have been there myself, it can be hard to judge the mood of the thread, and this one def got a few people sparky! It is a very emotive subject and one that may be very allien to some so it's understandable that others may get it 'wrong'. Thanks again.

Irene

SuperSue
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hi Everyone,

I am sorry that I've offended people. No intention of being glib or unhelpful or demonstrating a lack of grip on reality or causing anyone distress. You're probably right about all these things. Clearly my comments were unhelpful,inconsiderate and poorly thought out and so I apologise unreservedly.

Best wishes,

Sue

IreneM
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Just going to refill my glass of white as need the 'fuel'!

I am sooooo so glad I came back on here after a long break. I thought I was 'ok' self reliant and strong. I now know I am, to a point, but to hear you gals on hear saying the things I am thinking means so so much to me.

Supersue, sorry, you are so wrong, for us at least. You are either VERY lucky, or need to get a grip on reality. Both of the couple need to make an effort, it is not one sided and if I get a haircut (now I have some hair) buy a new outfit, book a table and taxi and bring the cheque book and all he has to do is turn up, smile ocassionally and show a little affection, and he can't even do that, it looks to me like wooing is def off the cards.

I agree with Manou68, we too have a wall of anger and if we no longer have sex and he is faithful which I think he is, how on earth is he coping? He isn't, he hates me most of the time. He doesn't say in so many words but I am so unlike the person he married. After BC I have needed to become very strong, it's a coping stratagy. I also feel let down that he doesn't see the strides I've made to 'cope' and return to normal, work, life, kids, grandkids, etc. Friends, family, even acquaintances say I am doing so well, OH says jack s***.
I am living with an enormous cloud hanging over me but it very rearly rains, it's a storm cloud brewing and he only notices when I 'lose it' after one more shitty comment.

Snowhite, I agree, penetration for me was never the ultimate goal, the forplay was usually the best bit, and even with me 'making an effort' to fulfil him, that bit got leap frpgged in order to get the uncomfortable and painful bit over with asap.

I do feel I have lost my future. I feel very sad that I no longer have a spring in my step, I too feel 'what use am I as a sexual female being?

Maz. I have also resorted to writing him letters. He also has not responded. I have then brought them up and he is uncomfortable and we end up rowing, so I that's a pointless exercise that I no longer do.

I agree with Regina. I am resigned to being celibate, don't miss sex, do miss cuddles. But if I was single, none of this would be an issue.

We had a separation last year and we did miss each other and we both wanted to make it work, but he is so so angry all of the time that I just hate the negativity that engulfs me on a daily basis.

Having said all that. I still love him, because on a good day I see glimers of the old him, pre BC, pre mutilation, when sex was an importantant and valuable part of our lives.

So I would say yes, sex matters.

Irene

Regina
Member

Re: Returning to a sex life after recon

Hubbies are not very good at this stuff???????

Don't give them an excuse, please. They MUST have been good at "this stuff" once upon a time or we wouldn't have married them would we? Would we?????

Sorry, saying they're not very good is far too forgiving and gives them a very easy way out. Might as well put them in with the elderly and call them "concessions".

I think we're taking a step back in time here. Next we'll be lying back and thinking of England ... I'd rather remain celibate.