Journal

How to Manage Arousal Issues After Cancer Treatment

Following cancer treatment, you may experience numbness and a lack of sensation in areas that were previously hot spots. This can be caused by surgery, or even by the nerve damage that can occur as a result of chemotherapy treatments. And while this numbness may lessen over time, in some cases, it can be irreversible. So what can you do?

1. Pinpoint New Pleasure Zones with Solo Sex. You're going to need to find new ways to turn yourself -- and each other -- on. Schedule some alone time in which you can explore your body. Experiment with new forms of touch, and engage in some solo sex. Then, schedule some alone time with your partner. Take turns touching each other. And don't focus immediately on the genitals. A light stroke behind the knees may be the new thing that makes you immediately moist. Or perhaps you're now turned on when he runs his fingernails lightly down your back. Take the time to learn about your new erogenous zones.

2. Talk It All Out. Before stripping down to your birthday suit, have a talk: about your sex-related worries... about the things that make you feel self-conscious... about the reasons you've held off for so long. Talk about the solo explorations you've been taking upon your body, and about what does and does not turn you on post-treatment.

3. Try Different Sex Positions. Those positions you used to rock in bed probably don't feel quite the same. Consider this a good reason to pick up a book of Kama Sutra positions. Trying out the ones that look most intriguing could make sex fun again. Also, depending upon what you're feeling down there, certain positions may even up your chance at achieving orgasm.

4. Practice Intercourse Plus. What does this mean? Even without cancer to contend with, the majority of women out there are unable to orgasm through vaginal stimulation alone. Which is why we always recommend pairing plain old intercourse with one or two other forms of stimulation: clitoral stimulation... g-spot stimulation... butt play... All of those pleasurable sensations thrown together could prove to be more than enough to push you over the brink.

5. Do Your Kegels. Exercising your PC muscles can intensify your orgasms. So practice your kegels regularly.

6. Raid Your Toy Box. That smoothie vibrator sitting in your naughty drawer doesn't have to be relegated to solo sex alone. If your lover is having trouble poking your clitoris out of its deep slumber, give yourself a head start orgasm using your favorite vibe.

7. Get a Lube Job. If painful sex is keeping you from that ever-elusive orgasm, achieving success could be as simple as lubing up. You could also try pairing an arousal cream with your personal lubricant. After all this, you may still experience numbness. But it may not last forever. We urge you to consider massage and other relaxation exercises as a means of managing this side effect, and to ask your doctor about medications that can also help.

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