Thursday, November 4, 2010

Q. My girlfriend has lost all interest in sex since receiving treatment for cervical cancer. I don't know if it's because of her appearance - she's lost her hair, eyelashes and eyebrows and put on weight - or if it's something else? She's only 25. What can I do to help her?

A. Treatment for cancer changes people emotionally and physically. Talk to her about how she feels, how you feel and the changes she's experiencing, and discuss what non-sexual things you enjoy as a couple. She may be avoiding intimacy because it's uncomfortable or because she fears it will lead to sex, which isn't what she wants right now. Make it clear you can still kiss and cuddle if that's what she wants, but if she doesn't want this either, be patient. Reassure her that you're there for her and love her. When she's ready for sex again she'll let you know, but in the meantime confidence issues may affect her, or she may be worried about sex being painful. Cancer charity Macmillan ( has resources on sex after cancer and can offer you both advice on how to manage your relationship at this time.

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