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Topic: Guidance needed--dating a woman with double mastectomy

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: Feb 21, 2019 01:20PM

CarringGuy wrote:

Here's my situation--I've met a truly amazing woman who informed me on our first date that she's a cancer survivor and has had a double mastectomy no nipples . Other than the obvious concern that she'd had to suffer through that experience her revelation didn't really upset or shock me--face it at our age (mid forties) many of us have had or will soon have some type of major illness.

Without being presumptuous it looks like things may become sexual in the near future and I need some advice. I've never made love to a woman who has had a double mastectomy but I can imagine such a procedure changes how a woman feels about her body. I know from talking to her she didn't want to get implants. But her doctors and staff convinced her to do it. She has told me that she hates all the scars, and wish she didnt get the implants.

I love her very much and do not care about the scars. To me they are her bravery scars. They are there because they allowed her to be alive and thus being able to have her in my life. I know that I will be the first guy who will be sexually intimate with her since all the surgeries.

I am afraid that I'll say the wrong thing or do something that might hurt her feelings. I'm sure normal approach of ripping off tops wouldn't be welcomed. I would really appreciate the advice of women who have undergone this procedure. This is an honest, heartfelt request, not some silly desire to be salacious. I care for this beautiful woman and want her to know that I find her attractive but I feel at a loss as to how to proceed.

Any insights you can share would be most appreciated--it seems like there's very little information about this on the Internet!


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Feb 21, 2019 03:43PM - edited Feb 21, 2019 03:43PM by SummerAngel

It's very nice of you to want information!

I'd say that if she hates her implants and scars, let her take her top off herself when the time comes. If she doesn't want to remove it at all, which is very possible, just leave it. If she does take her top off, don't launch any platitudes about how her breasts look great or the scars aren't bad or whatever, just tell her she's beautiful.

Also, when the time comes, ask her if she prefers that you don't touch her there. She may still have feeling there, but most of us do not. There is nothing sexual about having someone touch an implant that I can't feel at all.

This is just my opinion, others may differ. It seems that you are a caring person, so you should be fine if you follow your instinct. Good luck!

Age at dx: 45. Oncotype, left-side tumor: 9. Right side had multifocal IDC and "extensive" LCIS. Isolated tumor cells in 1 right-side node. Dx 3/27/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 4/27/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 6/1/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 6/1/2015 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 8/28/2015 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 12/4/2015 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Nipple reconstruction
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Feb 21, 2019 03:46PM Moderators wrote:

Dear CarringGuy,

Welcome to the BCO community and thanks so much for your willingness to share your questions and concerns with our members. We are sure that others will chime in with their suggestions but wanted to warmly welcome you here. There is information on our main site about Sex and Intimacy and Breast Cancer. We have imbedded a link here for you to review and offer ideas. There is also another forum that you might want to visit and also post this question that will allow you to connect with other caregivers, partners, etc who also may have some advice for you. You can find the forum at Caregivers and there is a specific topic for Partners, husbands, boyfriends, etc that has had some recent activity and also might be helpful. Let us know if you need any other ideas for connecting here and finding some support.

The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Feb 21, 2019 04:09PM blah333 wrote:

I would say, focus on touching her back and arms instead, and her ass.... don't really squeeze the breasts, they will be numb anyway. But don't entirely avoid them or act repulsed... (even though they may be repulsive). She may just leave on her shirt or a bra. If you start dating long term, when she talks about how she hates her implants you can mention that many women have them removed. Personally, I did not have reconstruction... and I do like having my chest touched, but it is not sexual anymore, or arousing. That errogenous zone is quite lost. But not having implants, I enjoy feeling a man's chest directly on mine. It is nice to feel the warmth/smoothness. Implants are more like a wall between two people (my mom has them, hugging her there is a barrier between us, I do not like it personally). Anyway - it is not hopeless for her, there are still many kinds of intimacies to be had. It just stinks for us that a formerly attractive area of our body that would arouse men is now a flaw to be tolerated..... Even if you are in your 40s that is a bit younger than the average breast cancer age (55) and not so common. I don't know anyone my age (35) who has been through this, only people's moms. So it is harder to be younger. Just rambling....... Does she like to exercise? Maybe you can do things together that make your bodies feel good, like hiking. To feel strong and vital and get blood flowing. I wouldn't launch too much into "you're beautiful" generic lines. I liked hearing a man say "I don't care/it doesn't matter" more... be her friend, value the person and she will feel comfortable. Let her know if she is unhappy that there are options.... a lot of women feel relief when they get implants removed.

Age 35 at diagnosis Dx 9/2017, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 11/30/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Aug 8, 2019 02:24AM CCharlene wrote:

Sorry to be a little late in responding. I assume you have already moved forward... but just in case other men are reading this down the road, I will chime in.

I have a double mastectomy at 44, and reconstruction about a year later. I also do not have nipples, the scars are pretty bad, and I don't have much feeling at all in my chest. For a very long time, I hated having my chest touched at all - not because of being self conscious, but because the numbness made it really uncomfortable. But now, several years down the road, I actually rather enjoy it. I'm still pretty numb, but somehow, being intimate, and not having him ignore my chest, helps me feel more normal. Even though I don't have nipples, so there is not the typical stimulation, it turns him on to play with my breasts, which turns me on, and, like I said, allows me to feel more normal.

I can't speak for everyone, but for me, being able to get lost in the moment allows me to not think about the cancer and the scars, which is pretty great. And when he looks at me, and I can tell that he actually sees beauty in my body, changes everything. I just didn't want to be treated like I was fragile or sick or to be looked at with pity.

If you love her, she will know, and everything else will be okay.

Dx 11/4/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 12/16/2015 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy Liquid tamoxifen (Soltamox) Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol)

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