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Intimacy is the bedrock of our relationships and the force that keeps us together.

The intimacy we experience as couples puts the big smile on our faces and the warm and fuzzy inside us.

Verbal intimacy shares our thoughts and feelings with words that emote love and physical intimacy shares sensations that heighten our experience of being alive.

Sexual intimacy is the culmination of verbal and physical intimacy and ignites the sparkle in our relationships and accords meaning to our lives.

Breast Cancer can interrupt and sometimes destroy these intimate acts of sharing.

Hearing those words, “You have cancer,” places a dark veil to protect you and to repel the harshness but leaves you feeling alone and isolated. Love can break through that veil, bringing light to an otherwise dark existence. Prayer can bring God’s love back into your life. Feelings from your greatest friend can penetrate your shield and shower with you with love.

Your husband wants to be supportive and wants you to know how much he loves you, but he may not know how. Inquire as to his feelings. Hold his hand. Give him a hug. Cuddle with him on the couch. Ask him to kiss you.

Once you have completed your treatment for breast cancer, the time has come to go beyond holding hands and to share the most intimate of experiences. But sex can be difficult and painful as vaginal dryness and lack of energy have complicated your recovery. Maybe you have already found greater joy in your relationship. Your husband is always there for you and has cooked meals, cleaned the house and even just snuggled with you.

In some ways, this was an ideal time for you, reminding you of the feelings of love you felt when you were first married. You do not want to lose that feeling, which you feel will happen if you bring sex back into your relationship. Still, your husband wants to make love; he has been by your side, held your hand, given you sweet kisses, cooked some meals and maybe even did the laundry and cleaned the toilets.

It is time to be together again.

The physical barriers to sex can be overcome with lubricants, local estrogens and finding a time when you are full of energy, while the emotional barriers to sex sometimes do require help from trained individuals, such as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (and not, necessarily, a sex therapist). Talk to your doctors and nurses.

We can often help mend the challenges so that you can enjoy a healthy and happy sex life.

Now that your treatments are over, it is time to resume life, which is now a little brighter, a little sweeter and a little more special. The loving, caring relationship with your husband requires encouragement and so hold his hand, take him for an evening walk, talk a while on the deck, share your feelings, cuddle and end the evening making love.

Now that breast cancer is behind you, it is time to return to the joy that is life, and nurture your most special relationship with your husband.

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