Dr. Brotto shares how a woman with a chronic disease can find her sexual side.
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I’ll give you an illustration of that. The woman who is at very end-stage disease, for example, the stage for a palliative cancer patient who, you know, some looking at her might say, “Well, she should really focus on her life and not think about sexuality.” And again, what these women tell us is that their sexuality, not necessarily intercourse-focused, it’s not necessarily sexual frequency-focused, but her feeling of her self as a continued sexual, sensual woman, for recognition and connection with that part of her, is a sign if she is still alive, the sign of her vitality. So how do women connect with that? They look to it; they don’t let it go. They don’t sometimes fall prey to the other messages they’re hearing around them, which is "Just be thankful you’re alive and put your sexual concerns on the backburner." So, for some of these women, chronic disease and even palliative disease can be a reinvigoration of their sexuality. It’s a chance for them to connect with this part of them that maybe they hadn’t connected with before, but the pressure is there now because there’s a foreshortened future. It's, you know, the issues have really come front and center. So, I think it's an intent to connect with it that maintains that connection there.