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Sex. Cancer and the Taboo

Forums General Melanoma Community Sex. Cancer and the Taboo

  • Post
    Charlie S
    Participant

    I've never been known as shy, but since I am in the hospital and benefiting from the virtues of morphine, I jujust wanted to breech the subject of sex and cancer patients.

    'm sure this is taboo, but I could care less..  Part of all of  us wants to be intimate with another, but cancer can get in the way………………..but only if you let it..

    Even though most posts wil be anon, I think others need the support.

    So, is your level of intimacy more or less as a result of melanoma?

    I've never been known as shy, but since I am in the hospital and benefiting from the virtues of morphine, I jujust wanted to breech the subject of sex and cancer patients.

    'm sure this is taboo, but I could care less..  Part of all of  us wants to be intimate with another, but cancer can get in the way………………..but only if you let it..

    Even though most posts wil be anon, I think others need the support.

    So, is your level of intimacy more or less as a result of melanoma?

    Talk about it if you want……………………or not,.

     

    I think this is an aspect of cancer that needs to be discussed, because I do think it is a deep dark secret of cancer people that is shrouded in darkness.

     

    Then again, this post is morphine fueled.

     

    CCharlie S.

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  • Replies
      LizzM
      Participant

      Charlie is this you? Did I miss something? Have you had a recurrence or are you in the hospital for something else? Please let us all know what is going on with you. You are an important part of this board and I wish you well in whatever you are going through.

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      LizzM
      Participant

      Charlie is this you? Did I miss something? Have you had a recurrence or are you in the hospital for something else? Please let us all know what is going on with you. You are an important part of this board and I wish you well in whatever you are going through.

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      MaryD
      Participant

      Charlie,

      I'm sorry you are in the hospital – but hope the morphine is doing it's work!

      And I'm not posting anonymously because  I don't think this is taboo at all nor should it be a deep dark secret.    Intimacy, dating, etc can pose very real challenges for those of us with cancer and for many different reasons.

      First there is the issue as to when to disclose it to someone (my own policy has been to do it right away – it makes me feel better – but it's different for everyone).

      Secondly, and this is something I admittedly grapple with – there can be body image issues.   In my case, the scars are very obvious – on my upper arm so it's not as if someone is not going to notice it fairly quickly. No matter where the scars are, they can have a  profound effect on one's self image.   Friends, though full of good intentions, often play it down or cheer us on saying the scars our "badges of honor".   In theory, they are right, in fact, it's not that simple.

      Then of course, there are the treatments which can make anyone feel something less than desireable and attractive..   These are all very sensitive and personal issues  . .but also very real.   Some time ago I did a search  on this subject and found several articles addressing this issue as a very real challenge and one that should be acknowledged and discussed as part of living with cancer.

      Morphine or not – I'm glad you brought it up.  It's not just about surgery, treatments, recoveries ..it's about living.

      Mary

       

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      MaryD
      Participant

      Charlie,

      I'm sorry you are in the hospital – but hope the morphine is doing it's work!

      And I'm not posting anonymously because  I don't think this is taboo at all nor should it be a deep dark secret.    Intimacy, dating, etc can pose very real challenges for those of us with cancer and for many different reasons.

      First there is the issue as to when to disclose it to someone (my own policy has been to do it right away – it makes me feel better – but it's different for everyone).

      Secondly, and this is something I admittedly grapple with – there can be body image issues.   In my case, the scars are very obvious – on my upper arm so it's not as if someone is not going to notice it fairly quickly. No matter where the scars are, they can have a  profound effect on one's self image.   Friends, though full of good intentions, often play it down or cheer us on saying the scars our "badges of honor".   In theory, they are right, in fact, it's not that simple.

      Then of course, there are the treatments which can make anyone feel something less than desireable and attractive..   These are all very sensitive and personal issues  . .but also very real.   Some time ago I did a search  on this subject and found several articles addressing this issue as a very real challenge and one that should be acknowledged and discussed as part of living with cancer.

      Morphine or not – I'm glad you brought it up.  It's not just about surgery, treatments, recoveries ..it's about living.

      Mary

       

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      Suzan AB
      Participant

      Personally, Sex has never been better.  But I live in Cali where a certian herb is legal for medical use…enough said, except it has a wonderful side effect…great sex, (that is for me, it may have different effects on different people, just like anything in this world)!

      About the body issue…I too have some scars on my shoulders, one on each side (those are the biggest ones).  When one of my daughter's Iraq/Afgani Vet friends asked me if he could take off his shirt (such a polite man), I said of course, why would you ask such a thing and he said well Suz, I have scars…I laughed and I swirled around and lifted up my shirt to show the few scars on my back…His reaction was…Oh my God, someone cut off your wings!   So he took off his shirt and we compared scars… 

      We laughed and I thanked him for his service to our country and mentioned that my scars were nothing compared to his!  I reminded him that he was a Hero in his battle for our country (can anything compare to getting shot by a kid?) while I (We) are Heros in our battle against Melanoma!

      Part of that battle is rockin on without fear of rejection or of fear of people staring!  Staring is good as it invites conversation about this dreaded monster.  There is such misinformation out there and I welcome the conversation…I usually say I was shot while escaping from pirates!!!  

      I am sorry Charlie that you are hopped-up, means something is wrong.  Please share with us. 

      My best to you and yours…

      Suzan AB

      Stage IV, Purple Painted Warriorists with a splash of Bright Yellow Paint

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      Suzan AB
      Participant

      Personally, Sex has never been better.  But I live in Cali where a certian herb is legal for medical use…enough said, except it has a wonderful side effect…great sex, (that is for me, it may have different effects on different people, just like anything in this world)!

      About the body issue…I too have some scars on my shoulders, one on each side (those are the biggest ones).  When one of my daughter's Iraq/Afgani Vet friends asked me if he could take off his shirt (such a polite man), I said of course, why would you ask such a thing and he said well Suz, I have scars…I laughed and I swirled around and lifted up my shirt to show the few scars on my back…His reaction was…Oh my God, someone cut off your wings!   So he took off his shirt and we compared scars… 

      We laughed and I thanked him for his service to our country and mentioned that my scars were nothing compared to his!  I reminded him that he was a Hero in his battle for our country (can anything compare to getting shot by a kid?) while I (We) are Heros in our battle against Melanoma!

      Part of that battle is rockin on without fear of rejection or of fear of people staring!  Staring is good as it invites conversation about this dreaded monster.  There is such misinformation out there and I welcome the conversation…I usually say I was shot while escaping from pirates!!!  

      I am sorry Charlie that you are hopped-up, means something is wrong.  Please share with us. 

      My best to you and yours…

      Suzan AB

      Stage IV, Purple Painted Warriorists with a splash of Bright Yellow Paint

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        Suzan AB
        Participant

        P.S.  We were going out on our boat to take the young man fishing with my kids…hahahhaaaa!  I don't want to give the wrong impression.  I am an older woman…hahaaaa better quit while I am ahead….heeeheee

        Suzan AB

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        Suzan AB
        Participant

        P.S.  We were going out on our boat to take the young man fishing with my kids…hahahhaaaa!  I don't want to give the wrong impression.  I am an older woman…hahaaaa better quit while I am ahead….heeeheee

        Suzan AB

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      Amy Busby
      Participant

      Hope your back out of the hospital soon.  Enjoy your morphine till then!  Well you know me, I'm never one to be shy or anon, I throw it all out there regardless, lol.

      I can absolutely say that Dennis and I are far more emotionally intimate than we would have ever been without melanoma in our lives.  Physically it's up and down.  Sometimes I am just too sick to feel up for action, or am knocked out by 8pm.  Of course that's Dennis too – so much to do, so little energy by the end of the day.  I have blessed to have him – he never complains about sharing a bed with a bald, moaning, overweight cancer patient! lol

      So often patients feel unattractive and just beaten up by the disease.  But we're still us on the inside and hopefully everyone has a partner like Dennis who has always made me feel just as loved and desired as ever.

      Sometimes it takes effort to keep your sex life going, especially during treatments.  But it's worth the effort.  It can help close that gap between the patient & caregiver and put the couple back in the relationship rather than just a p / c dynamic.

      But it's worth it.

      Love,

      Amy

      PS – love ya Charlie and your in my prayers as always  {{hugs}}

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      Amy Busby
      Participant

      Hope your back out of the hospital soon.  Enjoy your morphine till then!  Well you know me, I'm never one to be shy or anon, I throw it all out there regardless, lol.

      I can absolutely say that Dennis and I are far more emotionally intimate than we would have ever been without melanoma in our lives.  Physically it's up and down.  Sometimes I am just too sick to feel up for action, or am knocked out by 8pm.  Of course that's Dennis too – so much to do, so little energy by the end of the day.  I have blessed to have him – he never complains about sharing a bed with a bald, moaning, overweight cancer patient! lol

      So often patients feel unattractive and just beaten up by the disease.  But we're still us on the inside and hopefully everyone has a partner like Dennis who has always made me feel just as loved and desired as ever.

      Sometimes it takes effort to keep your sex life going, especially during treatments.  But it's worth the effort.  It can help close that gap between the patient & caregiver and put the couple back in the relationship rather than just a p / c dynamic.

      But it's worth it.

      Love,

      Amy

      PS – love ya Charlie and your in my prayers as always  {{hugs}}

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      Amy Busby
      Participant

      Hope your back out of the hospital soon.  Enjoy your morphine till then!  Well you know me, I'm never one to be shy or anon, I throw it all out there regardless, lol.

      I can absolutely say that Dennis and I are far more emotionally intimate than we would have ever been without melanoma in our lives.  Physically it's up and down.  Sometimes I am just too sick to feel up for action, or am knocked out by 8pm.  Of course that's Dennis too – so much to do, so little energy by the end of the day.  I have blessed to have him – he never complains about sharing a bed with a bald, moaning, overweight cancer patient! lol

      So often patients feel unattractive and just beaten up by the disease.  But we're still us on the inside and hopefully everyone has a partner like Dennis who has always made me feel just as loved and desired as ever.

      Sometimes it takes effort to keep your sex life going, especially during treatments.  But it's worth the effort.  It can help close that gap between the patient & caregiver and put the couple back in the relationship rather than just a p / c dynamic.

      But it's worth it.

      Love,

      Amy

      PS – love ya Charlie and your in my prayers as always  {{hugs}}

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      Amy Busby
      Participant

      Hope your back out of the hospital soon.  Enjoy your morphine till then!  Well you know me, I'm never one to be shy or anon, I throw it all out there regardless, lol.

      I can absolutely say that Dennis and I are far more emotionally intimate than we would have ever been without melanoma in our lives.  Physically it's up and down.  Sometimes I am just too sick to feel up for action, or am knocked out by 8pm.  Of course that's Dennis too – so much to do, so little energy by the end of the day.  I have blessed to have him – he never complains about sharing a bed with a bald, moaning, overweight cancer patient! lol

      So often patients feel unattractive and just beaten up by the disease.  But we're still us on the inside and hopefully everyone has a partner like Dennis who has always made me feel just as loved and desired as ever.

      Sometimes it takes effort to keep your sex life going, especially during treatments.  But it's worth the effort.  It can help close that gap between the patient & caregiver and put the couple back in the relationship rather than just a p / c dynamic.

      But it's worth it.

      Love,

      Amy

      PS – love ya Charlie and your in my prayers as always  {{hugs}}

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      washoegal
      Participant

      At first it didn't bother me.  But now I feel a lot less sexy, ……scars, lymphedema, etc.  However, a little morphine might help!

       

      Hope you fight through this one too Charlie.

       

      Mary

      Stage 3

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      washoegal
      Participant

      At first it didn't bother me.  But now I feel a lot less sexy, ……scars, lymphedema, etc.  However, a little morphine might help!

       

      Hope you fight through this one too Charlie.

       

      Mary

      Stage 3

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      NicOz
      Participant

      Well, mine is nonexistent… mind you, that's probably more to do with the fact that I ended my relationship with my particularly unhelpful (read: active hinderance) partner :P Cancer never killed THAT drive.

      Before that, things were great in that area. Now we have a running joke among friends that my neurosurgeon removed my libido :) At this point in time, another relationship is NOT on the cards.

      Bluntly, sex is life-affirming, so I think it can only be a good thing for people who are unwell. The only advice I have, is that waiting at least a week after craniotomy is probably a smart move otherwise that level of activity can cause a bit of a headache  :P (No morphine or other pain relief at the moment- just answered because I don't think there should be ANY taboo's when people are dealing with bloody cancer, especially if it's something that's affecting their esteem and intimacy with people they love)

      Go out, get busy, and enjoy those endorphins, I say!

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      NicOz
      Participant

      Well, mine is nonexistent… mind you, that's probably more to do with the fact that I ended my relationship with my particularly unhelpful (read: active hinderance) partner :P Cancer never killed THAT drive.

      Before that, things were great in that area. Now we have a running joke among friends that my neurosurgeon removed my libido :) At this point in time, another relationship is NOT on the cards.

      Bluntly, sex is life-affirming, so I think it can only be a good thing for people who are unwell. The only advice I have, is that waiting at least a week after craniotomy is probably a smart move otherwise that level of activity can cause a bit of a headache  :P (No morphine or other pain relief at the moment- just answered because I don't think there should be ANY taboo's when people are dealing with bloody cancer, especially if it's something that's affecting their esteem and intimacy with people they love)

      Go out, get busy, and enjoy those endorphins, I say!

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      KatyWI
      Participant

      Charlie,

      No taboo; intimacy is part of life, and those of us on this board are thoroughly undead.  Your post reminded me of an article that my friend's son was featured in talking about maintaining intimacy through chronic pain.  Sadly, Rhett lost his battle with the beast right around the time this article was published two years ago.  http://www.painfoundation.org/learn/publications/pcn/PCN08fall.pdf 

      When my recurrence was diagnosed, my husband and I did a lot of crying, but he also said, "Sometimes, can we just pretend this isn't happening?"  That's our way of saying we're not letting "this" disrupt our emotional or physical intimacy.  To be sure, when I was blown up twice my size on IL-2, there wasn't a lot of excitement happenin' on the ICU, but he did crawl into my hospital bed for a snuggle when I asked him to. 

      Your direct question was whether our intimacy level was changed as a result of melanoma.  I guess I don't really know!  The beast re-entered my life a year and a half after we were married.  (We spent our second anniversary getting IL-2; isn't that romantic!!)  Normal hadn't really established itself yet.  I think we are more thoughtful and appreciative about our time together. 

      Charlie, heal up on that morphine.  We need you around here to bitch-slap melasuckanoma for us.

      KatyWI

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      KatyWI
      Participant

      Charlie,

      No taboo; intimacy is part of life, and those of us on this board are thoroughly undead.  Your post reminded me of an article that my friend's son was featured in talking about maintaining intimacy through chronic pain.  Sadly, Rhett lost his battle with the beast right around the time this article was published two years ago.  http://www.painfoundation.org/learn/publications/pcn/PCN08fall.pdf 

      When my recurrence was diagnosed, my husband and I did a lot of crying, but he also said, "Sometimes, can we just pretend this isn't happening?"  That's our way of saying we're not letting "this" disrupt our emotional or physical intimacy.  To be sure, when I was blown up twice my size on IL-2, there wasn't a lot of excitement happenin' on the ICU, but he did crawl into my hospital bed for a snuggle when I asked him to. 

      Your direct question was whether our intimacy level was changed as a result of melanoma.  I guess I don't really know!  The beast re-entered my life a year and a half after we were married.  (We spent our second anniversary getting IL-2; isn't that romantic!!)  Normal hadn't really established itself yet.  I think we are more thoughtful and appreciative about our time together. 

      Charlie, heal up on that morphine.  We need you around here to bitch-slap melasuckanoma for us.

      KatyWI

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      debbieVA
      Participant

      Sir Charles….

      Hmmm….in the hospital  +  on MS =  Charlie isn't feeling well.  So, what is going on?  

      Sex..tabu…never.  While I was having surgery, radiation, or IL-2….the last thing on my mind was sex.  BUT…the first thing on my hubster and my mind was intimacy.  We had an overwhelming need to be close and help each other through the crisis.  

      The scars, bother me, so I don't wear sleeveless or revealing clothing while out in public.  I DO wear a bathing suit and loads of SPF at the pool or beach.  I have had people ask me about my scars as they are extensive and noticeable   … and I am upfront and honest.  Every opportunity to educate is an opportunity to save a life.  

      Charlie….hoping you feel better….

       

      Debbie Stage 4 NED

       

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      debbieVA
      Participant

      Sir Charles….

      Hmmm….in the hospital  +  on MS =  Charlie isn't feeling well.  So, what is going on?  

      Sex..tabu…never.  While I was having surgery, radiation, or IL-2….the last thing on my mind was sex.  BUT…the first thing on my hubster and my mind was intimacy.  We had an overwhelming need to be close and help each other through the crisis.  

      The scars, bother me, so I don't wear sleeveless or revealing clothing while out in public.  I DO wear a bathing suit and loads of SPF at the pool or beach.  I have had people ask me about my scars as they are extensive and noticeable   … and I am upfront and honest.  Every opportunity to educate is an opportunity to save a life.  

      Charlie….hoping you feel better….

       

      Debbie Stage 4 NED

       

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      Bonnie Lea
      Participant

      def not taboo.  with the exception of my infamous ear lid, my melanoma scars are on my back/neck so it is not seen much, all the little divits just look like wrongly placed dimples.

      Even after double mastectomy nothing changed.  I feell strange, and I know DH does but we make little comments about my front which is sooooo scarred it would make hmmmmm (no need to go there)  but no Ii think as patients and just as loving folks we need the intimacy maybe even more so than before melanoma/other cancers.

       

      Bonnie Lea

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      Bonnie Lea
      Participant

      def not taboo.  with the exception of my infamous ear lid, my melanoma scars are on my back/neck so it is not seen much, all the little divits just look like wrongly placed dimples.

      Even after double mastectomy nothing changed.  I feell strange, and I know DH does but we make little comments about my front which is sooooo scarred it would make hmmmmm (no need to go there)  but no Ii think as patients and just as loving folks we need the intimacy maybe even more so than before melanoma/other cancers.

       

      Bonnie Lea

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