Hoped that the zinger title would catch your interest. This is an essay from the New York Times about women and declining libidos. Although it is not specifically about women who have had cancer, it surely is relevant. We know that libido and responsiveness generally decline in women as they age, especially after menopause (although I have a memory of a women who advertised for partners in the New York Review of Books; she was nearing 70, and wanted something like 100 new experiences before her birthday. She got them.) Women with cancer often have a more difficult sexual experience. The normal effects of aging can happen suddenly and with intensity as chemotherapy or hormonal therapy may bring on early menopause. It is also close to impossible to feel particularly pretty, sexy, and womanly when bald and nauseated. Our partners may be hesitant to approach us, fearing they will hurt us. More time and space too often leads to even more distance, and it can be tough to get intimacy back on track.
We have had many very funny discussions in groups about "What I would rather do than have sex on Sunday afternoon." When the answers include things like going to the dentist or folding laundry, you know there is trouble. Those group conversations do get serious, too, and we talk about the loss of intimacy and closeness, the isolation that can create, and wish to be close in spite or or because of the physical problems.
Here is the beginning of this helpful essay and then a link to read more:
More Women Look Over the Counter for a Libido Fix
By ABBY ELLIN
Since Ms. B. entered her mid-40s, she says, sex has been more about smoke and mirrors than thunder and lightning. She is rarely if ever interested enough to initiate it with her partner of 10 years, and she does not reach climax during the act.
She wishes it were otherwise. "Sex just isn't a priority anymore," said Ms. B., 45, a professor in New York who spoke on the condition that only her last initial be used. "Still, it would be nice not to feel sexually dead."
Ms. B.'s plight is far from unique, and now the marketplace is starting to respond. In the absence of a government-approved female counterpart to men's potency drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, many women are turning to over-the-counter products, including lubricants, arousal gels, massage oils, nutritional and herbal supplements, and vibrators. Drugstore chains are now selling these products right next to the bandages and heating pads.