Sexuality for the Woman With Cancer

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Changing negative thoughts

Your thoughts can make a sexual experience good or bad. Become more aware of what you tell yourself about how attractive or sensual you feel. You may be setting yourself up for failure with thoughts like, “How could someone want a woman with one breast?” Almost all of us have put ourselves down now and then. But there are ways to turn these thoughts around.

  • Write down the 3 negative thoughts you have most often about yourself as a sexual person. Some may be connected to your cancer treatment, but other thoughts may have started years ago.
  • Now write down a positive thought to counter each negative thought. For example, if you said, “No one wants a woman with a urostomy,” you could say to yourself, “I can wear a lacy ostomy cover during sex. If someone can’t accept me as a lover with an ostomy, then they’re not the right person for me.” The next time you are in a sexual situation, use your positive thoughts to override the negative ones you usually have. If you have a favorite feature, this is a good time to indulge yourself a little and play it up.

If negative thoughts intrude and you find yourself overwhelmed or discouraged, you may want to talk with your cancer team about working with a mental health professional. This can help you adjust to the changes in your body.

Last Medical Review: 08/29/2013
Last Revised: 08/29/2013