November 21, 2017

Sexual Self-Care

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On the breast cancer journey, no matter what phase of it you’re in, self-care is something that we can all get better at. It’s like that reminder on an airplane to put on your oxygen mask before helping others. It can feel counter-intuitive, especially if we’re not accustomed to asking for what we want and need.

The first step is to recognize that we have needs and that they’re legitimate, no matter what they are. Sometimes in the rush of life, self-care goes by the wayside. Are you eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising, taking time for you?

Sometimes we abandon our own care to focus on others, thinking we’ll be inspired or that the other person will return the favor without our asking. That’s a no-win approach and can have us resenting others and ourselves. The best any of us can do for others is to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. When we feel cared for, chances are we’re better able to define our genuine needs. It can take time to learn what that is and to trust ourselves to know.

Sexually, self-care involves attending to your own sexual health and pleasure, and knowing when and how to communicate what you need, including when and how to say no even though your mind or body might be saying yes, and vice-versa! Understanding your intimate and sexual needs now that you are changed by cancer is a wonderful time to explore pleasure, intimacy and sensuality, and to expand your horizons beyond your genitals.

Ask yourself ~

  • What can you do today to take care of yourself? Whatever you need – love, attention, freedom, value, time – give it to yourself first before seeking it from others.
  • List the priorities in your life and consider how each priority impacts your self-care. Address any discrepancies. Make sure you’re getting enough food, water and sleep each day. Usually if we think we’re saving time by ignoring our own needs, our lack of energy will create the opposite effect.
  • Do you need to discuss your unmet needs with your partner? Reciprocity is a foundation element in relationships. Tell your partner your needs and listen to theirs. Then talk about how you can both take care of yourself with good self-care and support each other in caring for yourselves.

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

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