Cancer and Sexuality

Cancer and Sexuality

Warning: this may be a trigger heavy session. This topic can go anywhere, so I ask you to please be true to yourself. If at any moment this is too much, please do what you need to stay safe.

As I sit down to prepare for this session, I feel the anxiety of this topic creeping into my stomach and the tension growing in my body. I have my own childhood trauma from sexual abuse that is triggered by conversations about sexuality. My experience with ovarian cancer manifested this trauma, which peeled back the thick scab of emotions that had grown over 25 years of denial and a child’s grasping comprehension of the world around her. The feelings and memories I suppressed to survive my abusive childhood came flooding back while I fought for my life.

As I eventually learned, complex trauma correlates to complex triggers. When I started remembering and accepting the abuse was not my fault, I wrestled with myself. I struggled to make sense of all of the emotions and hold true to myself, to not become the overwhelming onslaught of emotions that I was feeling all at once.

One of the best memories I have as a survivor is walking proudly through the door to a Young Women’s Support Group and announcing, “My vagina works!”. Something about being in the hospital and being in that state of “well, here I am” made me a bit less modest. In my healing journey, I courageously faced childhood trauma that was triggered by my experience with ovarian cancer. I reclaimed my sexuality with boldness and healing.

With therapy and support groups, I found the courage to face this trauma and developed the emotional tools and resiliency to openly speak about my experience.


Prompt 1: How/What did cancer change your sexuality? Did it change your sexual identity? What is different? What is the same? What do you want?

Prompt 2: Check in with your sexual animal. What kind of animal is it? What are your “mating rituals”?

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