The 411: Sex + Cancer Part 3

Reclaiming Your Body + The Boudoir

Body image and sexuality are tricky topics for all of us, but they can be especially tender subjects after cancer as you learn to navigate a whole new landscape. There can often be an instinct to skip ahead and try to get things back to “normal”, but just remember: there is no such thing as “normal”. You can absolutely take your time and be conscious about the process of reconnecting to your body and your sexuality. Checking in with yourself regularly will help ensure you move at a pace that feels right for you. Here are five ways to support you in fostering a relationship with your body and sexuality that is grounded in joy.

Do Things That Make You Feel Like You

Just as there’s more than one way to look sexy, there are endless ways to feel sexy. Take the time to think about what really makes you feel good in your own skin. When do you feel most grounded and “in the flow”? What are the moments when you lose track of time, your mind is still, and you’re rooted in your sense of self? The answers to these questions can be as unique as you are! It could be a yoga practice, a walk outdoors, a belly dancing class, or cooking a beautiful meal. Now is the time to prioritize the activities that help you connect to your most vibrant self. Practices involving physical movement are particularly powerful, because they serve as a literal reminder of your strength and resilience.

Bring Back Your Flair

Medical gowns and hospital slippers are all about practicality and efficiency. They don’t offer much comfort, let alone room for your originality to shine through. It’s no wonder you might have started to feel less “you.” How we choose to adorn ourselves matters – it’s one of the ways we reflect our values. Start to re-incorporate the items that speak to your own unique style, whether that’s your favourite sparkly earrings, your combat boots, or your giant red purse.

The more you physically embody your personal values, the easier it is to tap into a feeling of connection to your sense of self.

Bask In Possibility

When it comes to the bedroom, there are endless options. However, as a society we tend to act like there’s just one main goal – intercourse – and rush through or skip ahead to the end. We rarely slow down and ask, what if? What if I caressed the back of your knee? What if I trailed my fingertips down your arm? What if I kissed the curve of your spine? What if now was an opportunity to ask those questions? What if, instead of this being a time when things have been taken off the table, you’ve been gifted a delicious new menu of options to explore? By the way, it’s easy to think of these activities as “foreplay”, but that implies that they have to lead up to some “main event.” Instead, try to see them as pleasurable acts in and of themselves.

Ask For What You Need

Good sex always requires good communication. Now’s a good time to practice that skill! Would wearing a t-shift make you more comfortable? Are certain kinds of touch now off-limits? What else do you need? Be honest with yourself and don’t apologize for how you feel. You may discover things along the way that don’t feel the way they once did. If so, either redirect the focus (for example, by saying, “can you touch me here instead?”) or if the experience has shifted your energy and you’re no longer in the mood, please speak up! Turning it into an obligation (either to yourself or a partner) creates a negative association for the future – a loop that doesn’t serve anyone. Instead, set a precedent that the journey is about exploration, connection, and pleasure. That mindset is more likely to get you excited for future romps.

Pour On The Self-Compassion And A Dash Of Courage

It’s important to listen to your gut about what feels right for you – while also recognizing there may be areas where you never feel fully ready. On the other hand, you may actually need to push out of your comfort zone. There’s a big difference between the reality of what has changed and the limiting beliefs we create for ourselves – the ones that tell us it won’t feel as good, that we don’t look as sexy, or that it isn’t worth trying.

Please don’t let fear be what holds you back from enjoying a rich, deeply satisfying relationship to your body and pleasure.

It might be helpful to get in the practice of asking yourself, “Who is talking right now?” Is it the voice of negativity? If so, kick it to the curb! Or is it your intuition telling you that you’re not ready? If so, change direction and find what does feel right. Only you will know the answer.

For more expert advice on The 411 click HERE

Kim cropped

Kim Sedgwick is a sexuality educator, coach and co-founder of the Red Tent Sisters, a Toronto based practice that offers holistic fertility, sexuality + contraceptive solutions for every woman.

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