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All TopicsForum: Sex & Relationship Matters → Topic: Sex and affection after Breast Cancer.

Topic: Sex and affection after Breast Cancer.

Forum: Sex & Relationship Matters —

A safe place to talk candidly about how your romantic relationships and/or your sex life has changed following your diagnosis and treatment.

Posted on: Dec 4, 2016 07:23PM

Tobo1UK wrote:

My wife, who I love deeply and dearly, is now 10-years post-breast cancer diagnosis. She had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and then Tamoxifen for several years.. She has now been on Letrazole for a few years, or more.

Post diagnosis and treatment there have been sexual difficulties, but we have faced and dealt with those as best we could. However, my wife's loss of libido has now led her to suddenly advise me that after 30+ years of marriage, she no longer has any love or affection for me, but is happy to continue our relationship as 'friends'. We can now engage in non-sexual cuddling, but not more than that!

I really feel that her current emotional stance has much to to do with her medical treatment and her psychological response to her illness, etc

I am devastated!

Has anybody got any advice about how I can help my wife to rediscover the joy of sex and intimacy in our relationship?

I cannot envisage separatig from her as I am completely devoted to her.


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Dec 4, 2016 08:31PM Moderators wrote:

Dear Tobo1UK,

Welcome to the community. We are sorry that the difficulties in your relationship with your wife as brought you here but glad that you reached out. While you are waiting to hear from others you may want to check out the information on Sex and Relationship Issues on our main site. We are wondering if you and your wife might consider couples counseling to further address the issues. Let us know how we can help you to navigate here. The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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May 18, 2017 09:27PM itfinallyhitme wrote:

Wow, I don't have any advice, but I'm sorry to see this didn't receive more replies. Maybe as a man, the women here don't know what to tell you. I guess I don't either, but the fact that you remain devoted to your wife has got to mean something.

In just reading around, I see such painful reaction to sex, for one, us so common, but I see there are many things that might help. Psychologically too ... I just had a double mastectomy and my husband sometimes speaks before thinking, and his comments have made it harder. But even without that, I look at myself, and I'm hard enough on myself that I don't want anyone to see me undressed. Self-image after mastectomy could be an issue.

Maybe hormones too, with her particular situation, the doctors would knos better.

And surely counseling would be good, whatever the cause(s), good for both of you.

I don't have an answer, but I think exploring the reasons for her lack of interest is a good start, since it can be several things, at least. Maybe more I'm not thinking of. Knowing exactly what the problem is could help point to something to work toward for a solution.

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May 19, 2017 05:44PM - edited May 19, 2017 05:45PM by wallycat

How utterly fortunate for your wife that she has your devotion and kudos to you for being there for her.

Just as puberty and the surge of hormones makes us want to have sex, the lack of these obviously plays a role. I'm sure what she meant (though I am not her and don't want to speak on her behalf) is that she still loves you and cares about you and all that a loving wife can feel for her husband, but her sex drive is gone and sadly, many people equate "love" and "sex" in the same context. It isn't. Women aren't as simply wired (with regard to sex) as men are, so between the trauma of a cancer diagnosis, the chemical onslaught to deal with the cancer, the natural aging process, plus your comment that there had been some issues even before the cancer....it doesn't get much simpler than that, IMHO. If she is unable, unwilling, or has tried but not successfully, to deal with lack of libido, there is little to do. Unfortunately, women can't just take viagra and "make it all better." OH how many of us wish that were the case!

There have been several similar posts and many say that there are other ways to sexually satisfy one another without intercourse. Is she amenable to something like that? If she has truly "fallen out of love" with you, it is heart breaking. Especially when there are so many women who lose their husbands/marriage because of their cancer and you are sticking by her side.

Best to you and I hope you can work things out. I hope someone with more insight posts and offers help.

Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012
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Jul 27, 2017 04:25PM Delphineblue wrote:

Dear Tobo1,

Geez, your story saddens me. I want so much to help. Maybe I can try to speak for your wife. I think I may feel the same way she does, but I am not married. I divorced my husband pretty quickly after my treatment for multiple good reasons. No regrets there. Now, however, I have been single for about 6 years and have dated many many men. In those 6 years I have had sex (3) times with one guy. I really only did it to be sure I still could. I sort of enjoyed it once.

It's not YOU! She may not realize this until it's too late but these drugs make us emotionally and physically numb. I have no incentive to even start a situation that may lead to sex. It just feels so forced when I do. My only suggestion is to put no pressure on her and work on being a real friend. That feeling of no pressure combined with good times and MAYBE a libido change (once she is drug free) could bring her around eventually.

I just got off (2 weeks ago) my last prescription. I was on Letrozole. Tamoxifen caused blood clots for me. So I had a hysterectomy and then was able to use Letrozole (low dose)instead. So far I see no change in my libido but if you stay in touch, I will let you know if I get any mojo back.

Love and light to you and your wife,



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