Sexuality for the Woman With Cancer

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Reaching orgasm after cancer treatment

Almost all women who could reach orgasm before cancer treatment can do so after treatment, and it may be as easy as before. But for some it may take practice. Many books or videos for women contain detailed steps on how to reach orgasm.

“I’m having trouble reaching orgasm. What can I do?”

If you enjoy being touched but still have trouble reaching orgasm, you may need to try something new to push yourself toward more excitement. Here are a few ideas that might help a woman reach orgasm.

  • Have a sexual fantasy during lovemaking. A fantasy can be a memory of a past experience or a daydream about something you’ve never tried. A strongly sexual thought can distract you from negative thoughts and fears about performing.
  • Use a hand-held vibrator for extra stimulation during your lovemaking. Hold it yourself, or ask your partner to caress your genitals with it. You can steer your partner to the areas that respond best and away from those that are tender or uncomfortable.
  • Change the position of your legs during sexual activity. Some women reach orgasm more easily with their legs open and thigh muscles tense. Others prefer to press their thighs together.
  • Tighten and relax your vaginal muscles in rhythm during intercourse or while your clitoris is being stroked. Or, tighten and relax the muscles in time with your breathing. This helps you focus on what you’re feeling. Contract your vaginal muscles and pull them inward as you inhale, and let them relax loosely as you exhale.
  • Ask your partner to gently touch your breasts and genital area. Experiment with your partner to find the type of touch that most excites you.

If a sexual problem has not gotten better after you’ve worked on it for many weeks or months, try some of the ideas in the section called “Professional help.” If your partner doesn’t want to go with you to counseling, the health care specialist you see may be able to help you involve your partner.


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