Has “The Lockdown Effect” Impacted Your Libido?

One of the “taboo” topics in the breast cancer community is how breast cancer treatment can impact a woman’s intimate life. From changes in body image due to surgery, to hormonal changes brought on by medically induced menopause, sex after breast cancer can be challenging for many women. That’s why we started our private Facebook support group, Sex After Breast Cancer, in 2017.

We have partnered with experts in many disciplines to help our women learn about potential solutions to help them increase intimacy. Our experts include professionals in oncology, gynecology, counseling, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, sex therapy, and pelvic floor therapy.

Today I was listening to a podcast interview with a functional medicine doctor. I was surprised to hear him speculate that the lockdown suppressed libido in many people—NOT what we needed on top of the existing issues our women have, right?

The doctor explained that when stress increases, cortisol increases. Survivability takes precedent over reproduction. He explained that having increased cortisol is like having a lion chasing you—and it’s unlikely you want to stop by the side of the road for sex when your life is being threatened! 

If increased cortisol impacts us physically and mentally, how does the fear and stress that we experienced impact us emotionally? 

As a community, we often tend to “blame” everything we experience on cancer—but I have learned over the years that’s not always the case. I want to challenge you to think through these questions:

  • Do you feel that the lockdown may have impacted your libido?
  • Did the stress and fear you endured change the way you look at intimacy?
  • Do you feel that the isolation you experienced during lockdown has made it more difficult to reach out for intimacy?
  • What baby steps can you take to overcome these issues?

It’s worth thinking about.

Shared with love by Jan James, Hope After Breast Cancer

Find out more about our private Facebook support groups (Booby Buddies, Hope After Breast Cancer, Sex After Breast Cancer, Booby Buddies en español) here.

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