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When can I have sex again after mastectomy?

AnaMaria34 Member Posts: 2

Hi All,

I had a bilateral mastectomy a week ago. My paper work says I can resume sexual activity after 6 weeks. 6 weeks! In 6 weeks I will be several weeks into chemo. I would like to have sex again before that poison ruins my body and sex drive. And then it's radiation and then Tamoxifen. None of those things are going to help me feel sexy. I want to have sex now before those horrors make it close to impossible. (I also have lichen sclerosis which is currently in remission.) I still have my drains in, but am feeling anxious about missing my opportunity. If we are careful, is it really that dangerous to do it?

Thanks for your thoughts!


  • muska
    muska Member Posts: 224
    edited March 2017

    AnaMaria, congrats on successful surgery! The fact that you are thinking about sex a week after tells me you are recovering well. If you continue feeling well and the drains are removed in the next week or two I don't see why you can't do what you want to do as long as you are careful and don't damage the stitches etc. It is always a good idea to talk to your surgeon about it. The 6 weeks threshold is probably too cautious and (s)he might agree to shorten it a bit.

  • ksusan
    ksusan Member Posts: 461
    edited March 2017

    You may want to ask specifically what "sex" means. It's a term used loosely and sloppily, and may mean intercourse, intercourse man-on-top, orgasm, or something else.

  • sbelizabeth
    sbelizabeth Member Posts: 955
    edited March 2017

    Six weeks? How silly. It's just a "one size fits all" caution to take it easy. It's OK to have sex whenever you feel up to it. No, it's not dangerous.

  • surfscoter
    surfscoter Member Posts: 2
    edited March 2017

    We started again a week after my BMX with tissue expanders. I still had a drain or two in. Obviously, we avoided positions that put stress on my chest and arms. I am a patient at Stanford and they gave me no explicit restrictions on sex, so I just assumed there weren't any. I can't imagine it isn't good for your recovery if you're up to it!

  • breastcanceryogi
    breastcanceryogi Member Posts: 19
    edited April 2017

    My post-op instructions stated I should limit aerobic activity. On the subject of sex, they deftly referred back to the aerobic limitations, but didn't prohibit it. We waited 3 or 4 days.

  • JennieKeaton
    JennieKeaton Member Posts: 24
    edited November 2018

    I am two weeks post op for a bilateral mastectomy, and my drains came out yesterday. I am still very tight and sore on both sides, but wanting to get back to a sexual relationship as soon as possible (chemo starts in three weeks). For those who have commented and resumed a sexual relationship fairly quickly, were you sore and tight? How did you work around that? Was it worse during sex or were you able to not focus on it?

  • star2017
    star2017 Member Posts: 370
    edited November 2018

    wow! I’m surprised with the 6 week recommendation. I think it was about 1 week for us too

  • cookishoes
    cookishoes Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2020

    Hi All,

    I am late to respond to this post but I PRAY more people find this forum and particular topic.

    Sex has been part of how I have survived this entire thing!

    Sure, chemo makes you feel shitty, but not all the time! I enjoyed sex throughout chemo. And actually, it was the BEST pain killer I could find! There are warnings about using protection, etc. But I have been lucky and blessed to have had a partner who has cared about me enough to continue love making throughout this ordeal.

    He is honestly a little superficial and I have been surprised that he remained attracted to me bald, no eyebrows, no lashes and now with one mighty strange looking breast. (The human experience can be an amazing one!)

    We had sex 2 weeks after my mastectomy. My drain was out. We were cautious and I am still sore BUT it is worth it in my opinion.

    I would use the rule of thumb that if it hurts too much, stop.

    But it may be worth a little discomfort for the benefits involved.

    For me, I have tried very hard to maintain normalcy in my life. And in this moment, I have been blessed to have a wonderful lover. He is part of my "normal" right now.

    I just want women to know that you DO NOT have to wait for cancer treatment to be over to continue enjoying your life!!! It is a ridiculous notion that all of the sudden we become these "sexless creatures" because we have cancer!

    You are still a woman, you are still attractive, you are still beautiful and you are still strong!. So, if you are interested, do what makes you happy!

    Best wishes to all!!

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,684
    edited February 2020

    Hi Cookishoes! Thank you so very much for chiming in here, and for your positive message! As you know, it can be a difficult adjustment, but hearing from others and hearing positive, encouraging personal stories can be so incredibly helpful.

    The Mods

  • tb90
    tb90 Member Posts: 279
    edited February 2020

    As soon as you can! I cannot believe any dr would impose a limit. There are so many issues expressed on BCO about women and their partners being reluctant to resume sexual relations and body image issues, etc. If you are both eager to resume, then please resume!! You are the lucky ones in healthy relationships and no dr has the right to decide when it is right. Please do not tell me your dr is male. But good for you and your partner wanting to reconnect.

  • tb90
    tb90 Member Posts: 279
    edited February 2020

    I just recognized how old this post is. But my message is the same.