Sex & the Breast Cancer Patient

My breasts have always been my favorite body part and I couldn’t have imagined life being ok without them. But when I got breast cancer and ended up with a double mastectomy, I was amazed at how the loss of these prized body parts was not the end of the world for me.

But then there’s sex…

I experienced breast cancer as a married woman and a single woman. Lucky me.  Interestingly, I felt much more supported by my new boyfriend (maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising since the marriage didn’t work out), so I’ll focus on my experiences with the boyfriend. His name is Tom.

Let’s start with a simple question: What is sexy? Yes, your body, but your mind is even sexier.  Feeling comfortable with your body, which is a state of mind, is what

brings you to yourself as a sensual woman. I found that when I defined myself as scarred and less desirable, the thought of sex or being close to someone was completely out of the question. But when I shifted into self-acceptance, I started to feel sexier and more interested in having sex.

No question about it, we live in a culture that objectifies breasts. They are everywhere, on every corner, on every newsstand and for women who’ve lost a breast (or both of them) to cancer it’s definitely a reminder of the sexy body part we lost, but here’s my advice when those feelings come up: Have your moment, because that’s real, but then remember who you are and take a moment to connect to your real beauty – that which is inside of you.

I also found that open communication is essential. Honesty is a form of intimacy and exposing your vulnerability and concerns can bring you closer to someone who loves you. This is not an area where you need to be a warrior. Trust me on this. Take it slow and go at your own pace.  Sharing your inner thoughts about your body and about sex can bring a special kind of sensual tenderness into your private life.

I found out through cancer that lingerie is a good thing. Now I finally understand French women. I found myself wearing more pretty lingerie now; it just helps me feel good when I look in the mirror, when I walk down the street.  I do it for myself (in fact my boyfriend doesn’t care so much for the lacy stuff, but I do). It adds that extra little feminine touch for me — and maybe it will for you too.

Discover a new favorite spot and have a little fun. Remember: Breasts and genitals are not the only erogenous zones. This can be a playful time to discover parts of your body you didn’t realize were sensitive to stimulation. I remember that after my oophorectomy (the removal of my ovaries), Tom and I decided to get into kissing in as many ways as we could when other body parts were off-limits. It was a two-week kissing marathon. Very fun.

(Actually, Tom was with me as I started writing this and he wanted to add his two cents in on the topic: “I met Lori after her reconstruction, that’s my starting point. I didn’t know her with her natural breasts. I admit, I love breasts like the next guy.  They are wonderful, beautiful devices to attract attention, feed babies, and look nice in a top. But in my mind, they are vastly over-emphasized in the media. Natural boobs alone do not make for great sex. Breasts, for me, are not the focal point of sex — I have another favorite body part that I adore, and thank goodness cancer does not go there. Sure, boobs are the favorite for a lot men and I’m not saying they shouldn’t be. But if your partner has had reconstructed breasts from cancer, then enjoy them in all their perkiness and then go find other places on her body that are pleasurable to touch and for her to feel you touching! I don’t find myself any less attracted to Lori because she had breast cancer and breast surgery. It’s definitely a heavy thing but, I feel like our intimacy is even more intense because of all she’s been through. I am aware of her vulnerability and it makes me love her more.”)


Lori Benson is the director of the film, “DearTalula,” a documentary chronicling her experience of breast cancer. Lori travels the country sharing her story and using her movie to start a dialogue on critical issues, such as the emotional aspects of breast cancer and the role of family history. 


Visit Breast Cancer: Healing the Whole Woman to read all of our breast cancer content.

Stop the Mind Chatter & Awaken!

"A lover’s pain is this sleeping,
This sleeping,
When God just rolled over and gave you
Such a big good-morning kiss!"


During the school year when my kids need to get up in the morning but want to stay asleep, they say the "sleep monster" is holding them in bed. For many, the sleep monster continues to exert its control. Hours, days, and years pass in anesthetic states, from which people have difficulty awakening. Many recognize the importance of shedding old ways of thinking, feeling or behaving, but find themselves pulled back into familiar – but unfulfilling – patterns.

The spiritual journey is the process of awakening to the precious mystery of life. When my meditation teacher Maharishi first came to the West, he was amused by how often people commented that their insomnia abated once they began meditating. The meditation message was intended to awaken people, but because so many were so fatigued, they were finally able to sleep.

The experience of presence is the essence of awakening. Right now, tune into your present moment, consciously attending to the sounds, sensations, sights, tastes, and smells in your environment. Close your eyes and bring awareness into your body, noticing where you are carrying resistance. Shift your awareness to your mind, becoming conscious of the thoughts that occupy your attention. Then, simply follow your breath, allowing a temporary quieting of the mind chatter that keeps you ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. It is this perpetual mind traffic that numbs you.

Make a commitment to do one thing different today that breaks the pattern – one thing that your mind cannot immediately disregard by saying "been there, done that." Hike to a new place, go to a new restaurant, make love in a different position, wear a new color, take a different route to work. Awaken, even if for a moment, to the splendor of the Infinite and Eternal disguising itself as Form and Phenomena.

With love,

Top 10 Reasons Why Tina Fey Is More Qualified than Sarah Palin

Since Tina Fey looks just like Sarah Palin, can do the accent and hand gestures to a tee, and is an excellent impersonator, let’s just swap the two. Besides, Sarah clearly stole the glasses idea from Tina.

Here are the 10 reasons Tina should be the next VP:

1. Tina is funny, Sarah is distinctly not. Times are scary and depressing; we need a comedienne in the White House.

2. Tina works collaboratively, while Sarah is a "maverick." We need someone who is going to be part of a team. All of Tina’s comedy is co-written, and she has the skills to make people work together to accomplish a goal.

3. Tina doesn’t think women who are raped should have to pay for rape kits.

4. Tina believes wolves should be protected, not shot at from airplanes.

5. Tina has just as much managerial experience as Sarah. After all, on 30 Rock, Tina as Liz Lemon runs a huge staff, oversees budgets, and makes multiple executive decisions daily.

6. Unlike me or Sarah, Tina knows the difference between reality and television.

7. Tina is not afraid to admit what she doesn’t know.

8. While Tina can’t see Alaska from her New York City apartment, it’s likely she can see the UN, Wall Street, and if she really squints, perhaps all of Western Europe.

9. Unlimited access to Alec Baldwin.

10. Tina doesn’t need to flirt her way into the public eye, we already love her.

Go Fair Trade: Tina Fey for Sarah Palin for VP!!!!!

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Pinch the Traps

Stand behind your partner and rest both palms on her left shoulder (between the neck and the top of her arm). The big muscle covering this area is the trapezius, and virtually everyone stores chronic tension here. You’re going to perform a simple “squeeze-and-release” technique that will help relax the area.

(For further clarity, this link to a wikipedia webpage shows an anatomical diagram of the trapezius muscle:

With your four fingers curling over the top of your partner’s shoulder and toward her chest, and with your thumbs reaching behind and down the back, grab on to a big hunk of that trapezius muscle and squeeze! Then relax.

Continue squeezing and releasing, squeezing and releasing, coveringthe entire area between the top of the arm and the bottom of the neck. Each squeeze-and-release segment should take about two seconds total, squeezing for one second and then releasing for one second. You’ll beable to grab on to the biggest piece of the muscle right at the junction of the neck and the back. Here you’ll probably use your wholehand to grab on and squeeze. As you move out toward the arm, you’ll be pinching smaller and smaller pieces of muscle, sometimes using justyour fingertips. Most people can take a lot of pressure in this area.Start squeezing gently, getting progressively firmer until you find a pressure that’s comfortable for your partner.

Try pinching the traps with alternating hands; squeeze with one hand while the other is releasing, alternating back and forth between the two. Don’t forget to save some energy to do the other shoulder.

Note: It’s easy for your hands to get tired doing this technique.Never hurt yourself by trying to squeeze too hard. If you’re giving a massage and you need a break, TAKE ONE! Your partner can sit or lie quietly while you rest.

This partner massage technique is reprinted from Grace’s book Massage In Minutes: Simple Techniques for Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere. Click on this link for more on the book:

Ear Massage

Most people have heard of foot reflexology, a technique where pointson the foot are stimulated to affect other parts of the body. The same is true of the ears, which also contain reflex points to every other part of the body.

Here’s an example of a very detailed ear chart I found on the web:

Massaging the ears takes only a minute and can be done as a simple self-massage or with a partner. I find that by doing these techniques on my own ears it clears congestion in my sinuses and releases tension from my neck and jaw muscles that otherwise creates nasty headaches.See for yourself what kind of benefits you’ll receive.

Ear massage techniques reprinted from Grace’s book Massage In Minutes: Simple Techniques for Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere.

Have your partner lie down on his or her back. Sit comfortably up atthe top of your partner’s head facing down the body toward the feet.

Grab on to each earlobe with the thumb and forefinger of each hand(thumbs in front, fingers behind). Gently rub the earlobe between your fingers, kind of smooshing it around, creating some warmth between your fingers. Gradually work your way around the edge of the whole ear,massaging with your fingers and thumbs in the same fashion.

Massage of the Ear

Now come back down and grab the earlobes again. This time gently but firmly pull them down toward your partner’s shoulders. (Trust me, it feels good.) Hold for five seconds, then release. Next, grab on to the middle section of the ear’s edge and pull down toward the floor. Hold for five seconds, release. Grab on to the top portion of the ear and pull up, toward the top of your partner’s head. Hold for five seconds,release.

If you like, at this point, repeat the whole ear massage sequence from the beginning. Then, make your hands into fists with the first and middle fingers extended (like scissors). Catch each ear in between your extended fingers. Your forefingers should be on the sides closest toyour partner’s face and your middle fingers on the opposite side of theear (toward the back of his or her head).

Now clamp down with these two fingers, gently pressing them together like you’re trying to cut your partner’s ears off. The cartilage around the ear will move, and that’s okay. There is muscle tissue all around this area that will be affected by this technique. With your fingers clamped down, move the whole ear around in small, slow circles. This really feels wonderful. Do five to seven circles, then release.

Massage of the Ear

Photos courtesy of

One-Minute Neck Massage

This is simple, and feels fantastic!

1. Have your partner sit in a chair, and then stand by his or her side so that you’re facing your partner (i.e. you’re looking at your partner’s ear). Place one of your hands over your partner’s forehead for support, and the other hand on the back of the neck.

2. With the hand that’s on the back of the neck, imagine you’re grabbing a puppy by the scruff of the neck and begin digging your fingertips and thumbs into the long muscles that run from the base ofthe skull down to the bottom of the neck. Squeeze, dig in, do small circles, moving and massaging the muscles and connective tissues with your fingers.

3. Make sure to be thorough. Spend five to ten seconds in one spot, then move on to another area, making sure to massage the entire length of the neck.

4. After one minute, you’re done! Now switch places with your partner so that you get a chance to receive. Have your partner massage your neck in the same fashion. The best way to learn how to give a great massage is to know what one feels like, so receiving is a must.

This is very effective at releasing chronic muscle tension and stress. Do it regularly!

Occipital Friction Massage

Use this partner massage technique to soften the area at the base of the skull, where most of us tend to hold a lot of tension. And to make it even better, start with the One Minute Neck Massage to warm up the neck muscles, and then finish with a minute of Tension Headache Relief to really seal the deal.

(This technique is reprinted from Grace’s book Massage In Minutes: Simple Techniques for Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere.)

Stand by your partner’s left side, facing him (or her). Place your left palm over his forehead, gently supporting his head. Cup thefingers of your right hand, pressing the tips of the fingers together.

Place the fingertips over the occipital ridge, which is the horizontal, bony ridge along the back of the skull, at the top of the neck. The occipital ridge runs from left to right, so you’ll want your four fingertips to run up and down, crossing the ridge like a “+” at aninety-degree angle.

Occipital Friction Occipital Friction

Start running the tips of your fingers up and down (about an inch or two) over the ridge creating some friction and applying a comfortable amount of firm pressure. You’re actually moving the scalp a little bit, rather than just scratching the surface. This is a rapid up and down movement, kind of like strumming a guitar. Work your way slowly along the occipital ridge, going from ear to ear.

Photos courtesy of

Superheroes Not US

Western culture’s fascination with superheroes is fading away. We all want to have superhero like qualities, yet take no responsibility to bear the work it takes to be a superhero. And, why not? Because we can not. As Steven often says we are "dependent on one another." It takes an army to fight a war. It takes teams to build a company. And, yet, we still, at one point or another, want to be heroes, and have heroic fantasies.Sarah Palin is helping debunk the hero mentality in America as she waves her USA #1 signs. The reality is that the USA isn’t #1 anymore. It may be in terms of gunpowder, but not in population masse or economic standing. We’re seeing this as the international powers so dependent upon the dollar crumble. As China is trying to make the world markets not depend upon the US dollar. So, the American hero can not save them all? Of course not. The UK used to be a superhero too, and not more. Superman is dead.I’m not writing this to bring us all down, and say that hope is lost. My point is that together I believe we can make a difference. It is not a matter of hope. No one billionaire investor like Warren Buffet can save us all. No one President, even if Obama wins, is going to turn this country around, especially within 4 years time, when our economic woes have been brewing for 30 plus years.It will take an army of men and women to share goals, aspirations, ideas, and hard work, together, to make America happen. I for one am not planning to lay off my staff, nor standing alone on the top of a building ready to jump. I’m gathering the troops, finding like people who share the same ideology as mine, and believe that for 200+ years America has been a country of "one," and together we will prevail long-term as a nation.

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