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Sleep and Sex

Posted 4/12/2014

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  The issues of the bedroom: sleep and sex. When both are going well, we are happy women. When there is trouble with one, we may be tired, cranky, lonely, or sad. If there is trouble with both, one possible explanation is cancer treatment. This is an introduction to another terrific essay by Susan Gubar from the New York Times; this one is titled Bedtime Issues.

  Of note, I had an email today from a distinguished colleague who wondered whether I wanted to join her in writing a rebuttal; she felt that both issues were very exaggerated and perhaps even not true. I was stunned; she is an accomplished and veteran oncology social worker who clearly has been an academic, and not a clinician, for way too long.

  Here is the start and a link to read more:

Living With Cancer: Bedtime Issues

Like the other women in my cancer support group, I have been trying to salvage aspects of the person I had been before the diagnosis.
In my case, I longed for the drugless sleep I enjoyed before I began having to take the sleeping pill Ambien. Ambien can cause amnesia, confusion, missteps and falls. I wanted to wean myself from dependency, to recover at least one aspect of the person I previously had been, so I began cutting the five-milligram pill in two, and then prepared to stop taking it altogether.
Ever attentive, my husband, Don, suggested that I use an over-the-counter sleeping pill sold by at the grocery store in the transition. I wasn’t surprised to find myself leaving my bed at 12:28 a.m. to play computer Scrabble. What did discombobulate me was the heavy weight of sleep when it finally arrived: layers of dense batting that suffocated me even after I struggled back to muffled consciousness the next morning and then contended with a daylong hangover.


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