Sexuality

 

Increase Libido by Carole Moretz, RN, Pys.D

 

  1. Spend some time every day remembering specific incidents in which you experienced intense sexual attraction. Focus on recalling the thoughts, feelings, circumstances and sensations.
  2. Do not want for desire to return. Challenge yourself to schedule pleasure times with your significant other. Experiment with all of the surfaces of your skin focusing of the sorts of touch that you like. Do not rush to intercourse, dabble with pleasure. Desire comes back in the context of positive reinforcement.
  3. Experiment with kissing.
  4. Grieve for your old libido but do not idealize it. Claim your right to become sexual in a new way.
  5. Never participate in any painful activity.
  6. Ask your doctor to check the medicines you take to be sure that they are as libido friendly as they can be.
  7. Become increasingly mindful of your responses to sexual stimuli. Avoid shutting down desires because they are "improper". Remember there is a difference between thinking and acting.
  8. Use your sense of smell. It is primitive and often the smell of a partner's skin is very erotic.
Even with a pretty good libido, there may be changes in our sexual responses. Signs of arousal may no longer include vaginal moisture. Vaginal tissues might become thin, fragile, dry, and not as elastic as they used to be. This sometimes causes pain and bleeding if we try to have intercourse. Less often the sensations in our vulvas or clitorises may be altered by the side effects of chemotherapy or by nerve damage. This contributes to discomfort and may interfere with orgasmic pleasure. For a few of us, a change in the actual structure of our genitals makes intercourse and/or orgasm impossible. All of the things that can be done to improve sexual function on this level involve being committed to change. Changing our sexual routine takes courage, time, and persistence. It also takes a leap of faith in our partner's willingness to co-operate and to want the same outcomes we want.
 

If you have interference with vaginal moisture, start by becoming committed to maintaining your tissues like you would maintain a Steinway Grand Piano.

  1. You may be a candidate for local estrogen replacement that will restore some of the elasticity and ability of your vagina to become moist during sexual excitement. Check with your physician.
  2. If you are not eligible for estrogen replacement and with the approval of your physician, use a water soluble vaginal moisturizer every other day or as indicated by the manufacturer. You can buy these products without a prescription in any drugstore. Replens and KY Beads are examples of two popular moisturizers. This is not meant to get your vagina in shape for intercourse. It is just meant to keep the tissues in a closer to normal state of moisture.
  3. Refocus your sexual practices on pleasure instead of vaginal penetration—learning a variety of ways to reach orgasm. For the most part, your clitoris works well; it's just your vagina that presents a challenge.
  4. When you want to try intercourse, use lots of lubrication. Its messy sex or no sex when it comes to using a fragile vagina. Save or procure a vaginal applicator. Use a water soluble lubricant—KY Jelly, Astroglyde—not Vaseline. Put an applicator full of lubricant one inch inside of your vagina. Remember sex happens from the opening of the vagina up, so putting lubricant way up inside does not help much. If penetration still hurts, put the second applicator full in as far as is comfortable. Repeat one more time if discomfort persists.
  5. If you have sensation changes, employ other pleasure zones in addition to your clitoris (nipples, lips, tongue, and finger tips have good sensory nerve supplies) to increase pleasure. You may need extra stimulation applied more directly to the clitoris than you can get with intercourse.
  6. Changes in genital structure or more complicated issues require professional help.
Cancer Recovery
Coping with the aftereffects of treatment and the new directions of your life
Sexuality
Address issues and explore conscious ways of knowing yourself when cancer changes sexuality
Exercises
Exercises for recapturing sexual pleasure