The Fourth Tool


Continuing with the 10 Tools and Power Tools for Bringing Back Your Sexy After Cancer:

#4. Agreements

It’s a good idea to make a regular time when you and your partner (if you have one) sit down and talk about the quality of life now with cancer in the picture, including intimacy and sexuality. Life is radically changed by the experiences you have had and as you begin to find ways to integrate the experiences and create balance, it’s helpful to have some agreements about how you will communicate with each other. Isadora Alman, a sex therapist, says that “Communication is the best lubrication.” Making agreements about how to be with each other as you communicate helps to create the container of safety, partnership and possibility.

Here are some agreements that I use personally and that many clients and students also find helpful:

  • Be gentle and tender with you and your partner (or yourself as you write) as you talk openly and honestly about intimacy and sexuality.
  • When one person talks, the other listens ~ with curiosity, compassion and openness. Imagine that you could put your ego or agenda aside and put yourself in their shoes.

When we begin to explore intimacy and sexuality, it can feel awkward and risky because many of us haven’t talked about it before, or because we don’t have the words for what we feel, or we have a taboo against talking about sex, or we feel guilty or shamed. These can feel like very loaded subjects. Remember this as you speak. When you are listening, be open and curious and try not to react to or judge what you are hearing or hear yourself saying.

Be patient and go slowly. My recommendation is that you have these conversations with your clothes on, sitting in a way that you can look into each others’ eyes, and in a place where you don’t have sex ~ definitely not in bed and not when you are about to be intimate or sexual. Set it up to talk when you can take the time to be spacious and gracious with each other. Take an hour on a Saturday morning, for example. And before you begin to talk, discuss how you will interact with each other. You might discuss the agreements offered above or any others that are important to you. Giving yourselves a structure makes it easier to have the conversations.

If you don’t have a partner, please contemplate intimacy and sexuality and how cancer has impacted these areas of your life. Then write about them in a journal. Make the same agreements to be gentle and tender with yourself, to be curious and compassionate about what comes through you and to know that you are giving yourself a wonderful gift.

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
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This blog does not reflect the opinions of The Pink Fund, its Founder, Board of Directors, Advisors or Volunteers. It is not meant to serve as medical advise 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 who voluntarily blogs for The Pink Fund without compensation.

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