Pleasure in Your Body

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Barbara Musser, sexy after cancer, cancer and intimacy, cancer and self pleasure, sexual health and cancer,breast cancer

Today is about connecting with your body in new ways.  Are you up for discovering some new sensual and erotic sensations? I hope you say yes!

Begin by opening to the possibility of experiencing pleasure through all of your physical senses ~ touch, sight, sound, taste and smell. I suggest that you literally use your entire body and all your senses to experience pleasure.

Let’s do a sensing experiment. For the experiment we’ll explore a flower. Go to a florist and drink in all the sensory input ~ what do you see? How does it smell? How does your skin feel? What do you hear? Any taste sensations? Walk around the shop and let your senses guide you.

Choose a flower or two to take home for the remainder of the experiment. Ask the florist to wrap it in some beautiful paper and ribbon, as if you were buying a gift for your beloved ~ you are!

When you get home and unwrap the flower, spend some time with it. Begin by looking at the flower ~ what color is it? What type of flower did you choose? Is it beautiful? Take in as many visual aspects of the flower as you can and notice your experience.

Next, smell the flower. Wave it gently under your nose and inhale the perfume. Is it sweet? Clean? Pungent? Earthy?

Gently stroke your cheek with the flower ~ how does it feel? Velvety? Soft? Fuzzy? Smooth? Rough? Do the petals feel different than a leaf or the stem? Explore the feel of the flower in as many ways as occur to you.

Taste the flower! Is it sweet? Spicy? Bitter? Moist? Dry? Take a petal in your mouth and chew it gently. What happens when you do that? Do you salivate? Does the scent affect the taste?

Wave the flower near your ears. Is there a sound as it moves through the air?

Take a petal and crush it between your fingers. What does that feel like? Is a scent released that is different from before? What does it sound like?

What is your experience when you involve all your senses? Does your body feel more alive? Are you in your body or have you checked out? Does this seem silly or pointless? Is it sensual? Erotic? Flowers are the reproductive part of plants. Does knowing this affect your experience in any way?

Can you imagine involving all your senses as you explore your own body? What if you explored your hand in this way, using sight, smell, touch, taste and sound? Try it and see what happens, what you experience.

One aspect of eroticism is slowing things down. This allows you to be fully present with whatever you are experiencing. Sometimes we go so quickly that a day can pass by in a blur. What if you spent 5 minutes a day on being present, fully present?

Imagine doing this same experiment with chocolate, or a bubble bath? Please share your experiences with us!

© 2014 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.

For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog does not reflect the opinions of The Pink Fund, its Founder, Board of Directors, Advisers or Volunteers. It 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 who voluntarily blogs for The Pink Fund without compensation.

The Second Tool

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

#2. Forgiveness. I’ve heard it said that forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better yesterday. What this means to me is that what has happened cannot be changed, so there’s not much value in hanging on to any pain, fear, judgment or blame associated with it. Easier said than done though, right?

What’s there for you to forgive? Nothing, you say? Here are a few ideas:

  • Your body for getting cancer
  • Your doctors for altering or removing body parts or giving other treatments that have radically changed your body
  • Your breast/s for how they look now
  • God or whatever spiritual principals you follow that would allow such a thing to happen to you
  • Yourself
  • Anything else that comes to mind

There are many forgiveness practices. I recently interviewed Marianne Williamson (author of many NYTimes best selling books including “A Woman’s Worth”, “Return to Love”, “Everyday Grace”). She is a student of A Course in Miracles, which is a powerful spiritual program. She said that forgiveness is the foundation for spiritual health and is a form of spiritual medicine. It is every bit as important that we take our spiritual medicine as the medicine prescribed by our doctor. Yet many of us don’t do this.

A forgiveness practice is a wonderful way to begin. The key is to find one that appeals to you and then to use it. One that I like is a Ho’oponopono chant for forgiveness:

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The tradition is to play some soft background music and then repeat the words like a chant. Repeat it as many times as feels right to you.

You may find that as you begin this or another practice, that other areas for forgiveness rise to the surface of your awareness. Respect your inner knowing about what you need in this area.

Remember that forgiveness is a process, not a one-time event. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you undertake this practice. May it bring you some inner peace!

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

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.

Do you adore you?

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Adoration comes from the Latin adōrātiō, meaning “to give homage or worship to someone or something.” If worship means to adore, to take in, to treat with the utmost respect or to hold in the highest esteem, then we should all hold ourselves in that consciousness. And, truthfully, when we don’t adore ourselves or treat ourselves with maximum respect, we will attract others who don’t treat us well.

Dare to adore yourself! Find a way to define adoration for yourself and see if worship flows as an expression of your adoration. Take a leap and let yourself feel what it’s like to adore you. Who knows?

In my view, this can be a result of the Mirror Practices described in my November 3 blog post. Take a look back to refresh your memory if you’ve forgotten. Do the practice again and as you look into your eyes, say, “I adore you (and your name).” As you do this, look with adoration, with utmost respect and highest esteem ~ for you.

We’ve all seen the electrifying adoration when a parent looks at their infant, drinking in the child’s essence, beauty, mystery, and fragility all at once.  Sometimes lovers gaze similarly into each other’s eyes as if the entire cosmos rested there.  The power of this kind of attraction touches us at the core of our being; our very humanity comes alive as if we’re seeing our own selves anew or for the first time.

For the remainder of the month, practice adoring yourself. Let yourself adore you because you are so worth it! I’d love to know your experience with this deeper mirror practice, so feel free to comment below.

From January 14-25 I’m hosting the Go Forth and Thrive After Cancer telesummit. Each day there will be 2 interviews with experts on various aspects of what it takes to thrive and evolve after cancer comes into your life. I’ll be talking with people like Marianne Williamson, the NY Times best selling author and mystic; our own Molly MacDonald about The Pink Fund; Gary Malkin, Emmy-award winning composer about music as medicine for the heart, and many more. It’s free! To listen in, click here to register:  www.cancertelesummit.com.

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

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.

Sexiness part 3…

The good news is that confidence can be cultivated.

But are all confident people sexy? No. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of individuals who inspire sureness without stirring any sort of desire in you. There are many whose confidence I admire, even look up to, but they’re just not sexy to me. Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Warren Buffet, for example, inspire great confidence in me, but sexy? Not in several lifetimes. Even so, confidence is an essential ingredient to the alchemical formula.

Many confident adults have struggled to find and nurture a belief in themselves. This is part of our process of maturation and individuation, how we come to know, understand and believe in ourselves. It’s a heroic journey, and one we can undertake many times in our lives as things change and what once seemed solid and secure, shifts and moves.

We can look at others and see that they seem to have it all together. Yet we are only seeing them from the outside in. And we experience the world and ourselves from the inside out. The truth is that we’re all in this process of self-definition and awareness.

When a breast cancer diagnosis is added to this mix, it’s easy to feel like the rug has been pulled out from under your feet. We may feel betrayed by your body, drive yourself crazy in an attempt to figure out how and why you got cancer, live in fear of the return of cancer, and not so sure of who you are. These are all possible reactions to having cancer. And this can completely shake your self-confidence to the point that you feel insecure in the most basic ways. Suddenly you can’t count on things you could count on before, like your health or how your body functions. Coming face to face with your mortality has a big impact on your confidence.

Strange as it may seem, this is a very powerful opportunity to look at what’s important about who you are and what’s not so important. It’s a time when you can literally create new beliefs about life, now that life, as you’ve known it, has been threatened. Suddenly, you know that life isn’t a dress rehearsal. It may be the first time you have faced your own mortality. Given that, how do you choose to live your life?

You may be familiar with this poem:

Dance like nobody’s watching;
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Sing like nobody’s listening
Live like it’s heaven on earth.

~ Mark Twain

Since no one gets out of life alive, why not create the life you’ve always wanted to live? Why not decide that you are confident? That you can be, and are, sexy and desirable? Who’s going to say you’re not? If you believe it about yourself, that’s what you will transmit to the world, and you’ll be experienced that way. I know, this sounds hokey. But this is the way it works. Really.

Creating confidence starts with your beliefs about you. Here’s a way to being this inventory:  take a pad of paper or a stack of index cards. Begin with at least 20. On each one, write one thing that you love about yourself or believe about you in a positive way. It could be things like “I love my generosity of spirit”, “I love that I see the goodness in every person I encounter”, “I love my sense of hope,” and so on. Without editing the list, just keep going until you have written at least 20 things that you love about you. Once you have completed the list, review it and notice how you feel as you read each statement. Do you feel rock solid about it? If not, could you with a little more belief in you? Do you need to change the words to make it feel rock solid? If so, do it.

You can continue to add to this inventory. I keep mine in a “love jar” that I have decorated and it sits on my desk. Every day, I pull out one of the statements and make it a practice to “be” that for the day. Try this practice to increase your love for you and your confidence, and to makes you t solid and consistent in these qualities. It’s not wishful thinking; it becomes your belief system ands Truth.

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

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.

Beauty is More Than Skin Deep

What is beauty, and who says? The media and trends of the times heavily influence us. Look back one generation to see that the icons of beauty in the 1950’s and 1960’s were women like Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. Then in the 1970’s along came Twiggy and everything changed. Suddenly the standard of beauty went from round and soft to emaciated and all angles. Many women tortured themselves to fit the new standard. Today we see the vestiges of this in all the eating disorders that are so prevalent and so heart wrenching. The things we do be “beautiful” can be extreme.

As women, it’s easy to succumb to the media definitions of beauty. I don’t mean to demean physical beauty in any way. True beauty is the beauty of the soul, the radiance that comes from standing in the Truth and Integrity of who you really are.

Think of the women you admire and who you find striking or elegant or sexy. What is it about them that has you say that about them? What are the qualities? There’s a certain “je ne sais quoi” that magnetizes us and often is has little or nothing to do with physical looks. Usually what we’re drawn to is either a reflection of who we are, or aspects of what we want to develop in ourselves.

Beauty has so many aspects:

  • A beautiful heart
  • Kindness and generosity of spirit
  • Speaking the Truth
  • Compassion for yourself and others
  • Being comfortable in our own skin
  • Knowing that we are beautiful

Until we free ourselves from these artificial standards, we’re caught in the trap of never measuring up. We judge ourselves harshly because we’ve internalized these standards unconsciously. The key to unlock knowing that we are beautiful begins with some inner work. Here’s a place to begin. My suggestion is that you do at least one of the practices below for a month and see what happens.

Practices to see your beauty:

  1. Every night before you go to sleep, tell yourself 3 things you love about you. Write them down in a beautiful journal.
  2. Have a professional photo taken of you in an outfit you love. Put it in a beautiful frame in a place where you’ll see it every day. Every time you look at the photo say, “I love you.”
  3. Look at yourself in the mirror as you brush your teeth, comb your hair or put on make-up (if you wear it) and say, “You are beautiful (your name).”

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

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.

Where to Begin? Right Where You Are!

My breasts are very different sizes. I was not offered reconstruction for my partial mastectomy. I got a small prosthesis that fits in my bra, which makes my breasts look about the same size. And now I wear low cut clothing and love looking at my “girls.” Because I’m comfortable in my own skin, love my body, and myself. I am often told how sexy I am. This has nothing to do with having had breast cancer, although that was a big catalyst for me to do the work I needed to do to accept and love my body as it is.

Beautiful tattoo on women sexy after cancer Barbara MusserThe Truth is that there is no such thing as “the” perfect breast. All breasts are perfect, each in their unique way, whether surgically altered or not. The idea that we are somehow less than gorgeous because our breasts look different is simply not true.  I’ve seen women who have beautiful tattoos where their breasts were previously and they are gorgeous.

If breast cancer has damaged your self-image, you can work on creating a positive view of yourself. Are you going to great lengths not to look at the scars on your chest? It’s important to get past this attitude so that you can move on.

Practices to love your body – whether you have a partner or not

  • There are several reasons for these practices:
  • For you to love, forgive and make peace with your body
  • To prepare you, leading you toward feeling attractive and desirable
  • First with yourself alone and then with a partner or a potential partner.

1. Clothes cover
Fancy lingerie may be the immediate solution. If you want that protection, that camouflage, go for it. Indulge yourself. Plenty of women sleep with clothes on. Beneath clothing, a reconstructed breast or a good prosthesis looks “real” – it has the bounce, the weight, and the resilience of a natural breast. To a partner it feels very much like the real thing.

Responding to a discriminating market, many shops offer an excellent variety of prostheses and cleverly adapted prosthesis pockets fitted into underclothing and swimsuits. Ask your local American Cancer Society chapter for a list of shops, or look in the online under Lingerie.

Even for the short term, while you’re deciding whether or not to go ahead with reconstruction, a breast prosthesis may allow you to feel more comfortable about your image in clothes.

2. Easing into exposure
Beautiful lingerie can be your first step to getting into a pattern of relaxed sexual activity. (Remember you don’t need a partner for sex!) Sooner or later you need to come to terms with the changes in how you look. It is important to accept your naked body, even if you never did before, and make peace with yourself. If you have a partner, you will need to let your partner look at you and come to a similar point of view. Take it little by little. This is easier for some than others. Some women find it freeing to walk around their room or apartment totally naked. One woman I know invited close friends over for dinner and when they had finished, she showed off her new reconstructed breasts, to “oohs” and “aahs” of approval!

3. The Final Step
The final step is to be totally naked (with your partner if you have one). This is the last stage in releasing the anxiety about your self-image. ‘Cathy,’ in a new relationship, finally worked up to letting her beau see her naked chest—and he said: “You really did something big, letting me see you. But I told you before, it wasn’t going to matter to me.”

‘Ellen’ said her husband’s only concern was that she was alive, not whether her reconstructed breast was a match for the other. She was able to have a nipple-sparing mastectomy and the reconstruction looks fine, but she’s more aware of the asymmetry of her breasts more now than before. She looks with a much more critical eye than her husband. As time passes, she’s more and more able to accept how her breasts look now, and even to smile at her scrutiny of her beauty.

With or without breast cancer, some women just don’t enjoy being naked. You may need to face what you look like, but you don’t have to force yourself into behavior that never suited you. Often, sex takes place in darkened rooms. When the lights are low and you’re getting it on, whether you’re totally naked or not may not matter one bit.

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more information, go to SexyAfterCancer.com.

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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