March 22, 2018

Cancer as a Portal into Renewed Intimacy and Sex

Barbara Musser, Sexy Saturdays, breast cancer, intimacy after breast cancer, breast cancer and sensuality, cancer and sex

The title of this post might seem like a contradiction. After all, many people say that cancer results in the end of their sex life. It may, indeed, be the end of sex as we knew it. And that may not be all bad… let me explain.

We live in a culture that teaches that orgasm is the gold standard for good sex. Orgasms are fabulous, and when you put them into the context of an entire sexual encounter, the orgasm lasts a very short time, usually about a minute. When we focus on orgasm, it’s easy to miss the rest of the journey because we have our eye only on the goal.

When cancer comes into the picture, it’s time to slow down. Slow way down. First of all, our bodies may not function the same as before, especially if hormone production has been suppressed through chemo or hormonal therapies. Second, our sexual organs may have been removed or altered through surgery or radiation. This means that genital penetrative sex can be painful. Fear of pain can cause us to tense up and sexual intercourse works best with a physically relaxed body.

Hmmm, what to do? Rather than force things, so to speak, I suggest that you take penetration and orgasm off the table for some time. Why take it off the table? To give yourself time to explore other intimate and sexual activities. How long? That’s up to you.

Try this experiment for a month or so ~ make a weekly sex date with your sweetie, or yourself if you don’t have a sweetie. During the date, agree that this is a time to be intimate and loving, with no erotic agenda. There’s nowhere to go, no hurry, nowhere else to be. Relax. Play some music you like, light some candles, take a bath or shower together.

Lay on your bed (naked or clothed, that’s up to you), and lie facing each other. Look into each others’ eyes. Breathe deeply and continue to gaze into each others’ eyes. As you gaze and breathe, notice that your body begins to relax and your heart opens. Keep breathing and feel how deeply connected you are to each other ~ the heart connection, emotional connection, spiritual connection, physical and energetic connections. Really see each other, and allow yourself to be seen at the same time. Without words, just gazing and breathing.

This is intimacy. There’s a spiritual practice called Heart Gazing, and this is it.

After a few minutes, an inspiration may arise. Perhaps you’ll want to stroke each other’s face or share a gentle kiss, or place your hand on their heart. Perhaps something else, perhaps nothing. The point is to be in harmony with each other and stay in the moment. Allow your connection to inspire you, with no ru?sh. There’s no wrong way to do this. It’s all about being present and intimate.

If you are alone, lie down and place your hands on your heart and breathe. Literally feel your heart and your love for yourself. If you are inspired to stroke your face, lovely. If not, lovely.

The experience is intimacy. It’s something that we all crave, and it’s often why we have intercourse ~ because this is the experience we really want. To be seen, accepted and loved just as we are, in each moment.

After a month of this experiment, you can begin to experiment with genital touching. Relax, keep a sense of humor and take your time. Use lots of lube, go slow and learn each others’ bodies now. Cancer changes everything, and it can be a portal into deeper intimacy and sex than you had before. How cool is that? Or should I say, how hot is that?

© 2014 Barbara Musser and Sexy After Cancer. Please feel free to share this content and include proper attribution.

The “C” Word ~ No, Not Cancer!

Barbara Musser, Sexy AFter Cancer, Sexy Saturdays, breast cancer, breast cancer and sexuality, breast cancer and sexual health, breast cancer and intimacy, sex and cancer



The “C” word stands for a lot of things ~ cancer, communication and in the realm of intimacy and sexuality, it stands for cunt, cunnilingus and clitoris, to name a few. This and the next post will focus on the clitoris, which deserves attention and enlightenment.  Once breast cancer is in our life story, the impact on our intimate and sexual lives is profound and many women grieve the changes to their sex life. Many think that there’s little point in attempting to be sexual, especially if sex wasn’t all that great before diagnosis and treatment. This is the reason for my work, research and teaching. I aim to provide the ingredients for a happy and healthy intimate and sexual life after diagnosis.

The clitoris can be part of our intimate and sex play and doesn’t seem to be as affected by treatments as other areas of our genitals. This is great news! And there isn’t much information available about this. There is so much to know about this amazing body part, and my purpose is to educate, inspire and shed light on some new possibilities for pleasure. I hope that after reading this you will include the clitoris in your personal pleasure plan.

There is an art exhibition going on currently in New York called “Cliteracy”, and the artist is Sophia Wallace. It’s a mixed media project designed to “expose the irony of society’s obsession and ignorance of female sexuality.  Cliteracy, 100 Natural Laws (2012) includes a monumental wall of texts which challenge phallocentric biases in science, law, philosophy, politics and the art world. Wallace’s focus on the clitoris and female pleasure serves to question and counteract the history of misinformation regarding women’s bodies and the concomitant oppression therein.”

Here are some inspiring clitoral facts and thoughts. Let’s begin with a statement from the artist Sophia Wallace: “The clitoris is not a button, it’s an iceberg.” Some of these ideas also come from my colleague Pamela Madsen who is also a sex educator.

  • If you want to address the clitoris, labia and vagina together, vulva is the all-encompassing term. Not Volvo, vulva, even though it may have many miles on its odometer. J
  • 50-75% of women who have orgasms need to have their clitoris touched (clitoral stimulation). Experiencing orgasms through clitoral stimulation is a great way to experience pleasure if your vaginal tissue has any atrophy.
  • The clitoris is only partially visible to the eye. The entire clitoris is close to four inches in length (similar to the average non-erect penis), but three fourths of its is hidden from view within a female’s body. It’s buried treasure. Think of all the pleasure potential in the entire region. Have you explored it?
  • The clitoris grows throughout a woman’s life. It can become 2.5 times larger after menopause than it was when the woman was a teenager. This is great news for those of us who have experienced instant menopause as a result of breast cancer treatments. This is not to say that pleasure depends on the size of the clitoris; however it contains 8,000 nerve endings, which are deliciously sensitive. By the way, this is twice the number of nerve endings in the glans of a penis. Lucky us!

More to come in the next blog… in the meantime please feel free to ask any questions you have or share any facts you may know. We are all teachers for each other.

© 2014 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to

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.