Intimacy After Breast Cancer
A review of Gina Maisano’s book, which may help you return to your love life with more joy after breast cancer
Okay, you’ve made it through breast cancer. You’re a survivor. You’re ready to jump back into life – but are you ready to jump back into bed? Few topics are as awkward or as necessary as intimacy after a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. It took decades for women to feel comfortable even talking about the disease itself, so it’s a small wonder conversations about sex and intimacy have taken place in whispers, if at all.
Intimacy After Breast Cancer, the book
Two-time breast cancer survivor Gina Maisano decided it’s time to open the discussion in a straightforward and honest way. Her book, Intimacy after Breast Cancer, written in 2010, is a personal look at how breast cancer affects our emotions, our bodies, and our lives, and how we can move past all the challenges to return to intimate relationship after breast cancer.
Intimacy After Breast Cancer is divided into two sections. The first deals with regaining control of your body and your spirit, examining ways to deal with the emotional and physical issues a woman may be facing so she can regain her sense of confidence and self-esteem.
So much of our difficulty with intimacy after breast cancer comes from fear. Fear of recurrence, fear that we’re no longer lovable because we look different, fear that life will never be the same. But Maisano’s book give you tools to work through those feelings and move back towards intimacy after breast cancer, with chapter titles like:
- Your Personal Reclamation
- Prescriptions and Natural Medications
- Taking Care of Your Body
- Image Reconstruction
- Sex and the Married Survivor
- Sex and the Single Survivor
- The Single Survivor
- Free Your Mind and Your Body, and
- Your Sexual Reclamation
The second half of Intimacy After Breast Cancer shares ways to reclaim your sexual self. Maisano discusses options for both married and single women candidly. The book is filled with survivors’ stories, enabling the reader to read first-hand accounts offering personal perspectives as well as specific examples of both physical and mental healing.
Intimacy After Breast Cancer also provides expert advice and scientific research, helping to round out and validate the information provided.
Body Image and Intimacy
Many women are plagued by body image issues after their surgeries. They may also experience physical changes that are either unpleasant or at the very least, previously unexplored issues because were not previously a problem. Often times, when you’ve faced your mortality, it’s difficult to believe joy can once again be a part of your life.
The old saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost,” may not ring so true for women when the loss involves a breast. Sexuality and intimacy after breast cancer are as individual as the women facing the disease, so while this book may not be the perfect fit for everyone, it provides useful information and insights that should help anyone begin the journey to a new normal.