Sex After Breast Cancer

 My new friend— funny, smart, personable, warm—a breast cancer survivor—recently visited her oncologist, where she mentioned her loss of sexual energy, the missing mojo. 

Like some menopausal or post- menopausal women, women who have had breast cancer may find that their sexual energy, that pelvic surge, goes KAPUT. There are reasons for this, among them changes in hormones, damage to nerve endings, the impact of chemo, feelings of vulnerability, loss.The doctor, after listening to her, said there was nothing he could do. My friend, as you can imagine, felt saddened and resigned.

From my perspective, as a seasoned clinical sexologist, the missing mojo is temporary. The good news is that it’s possible to get it back. The process takes time, practice, options, and a sense of humor. And if you miss your mojo, it’s worth it!

In order to feel pleasure again, women need to:

grieve their lost breast(s) or changed body

heal from the cancer treatment

regain their sense of humor

make a peace with their new body

get to know their new body

notice sensations, regardless of how small

feel their erotic feelings

find the kind of touch that works

be in the moment

stop, if they need to

cry, if they need to

view videos at

research clinicians or educators at

use lotion everywhere, and lube

say, “Mmmmm, that feels good”

open themselves to new sensations

dance or take salsa, merengue, or rhumba lessons

build on the sensations

sign up for or host a women’s sexuality talk or workshop

focus on what they DO feel rather than what they no longer feel

compile a list of what has worked for other women

Sometimes it’s easier for women to practice on their own first. Sometimes it helps to make sure their partner has read this article.

Also, please let us know what’s worked for you to maximize your mojo. That way, we all can learn, and can teach our partners to successfully spread the good news. As in the old song, “Our lust is here to stay….”

 Judith Steinhart, EdD, is a clinical sexologist and nationally known sexuailty guru, who went to Woodstock, facilitated women’s groups for  the National Organization for Women, taught Dr. Ruth’s courses at Brooklyn College after she left, co-created the oldest interactive health Q&A website (Go Ask Alice!), hosts Women’s Sexuali-Teas, and has natural curly hair. Read her Q&A blog, and ask questions anonymously!





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