Ask Rivka

Mieke Rivka Sidorsky, LGSWIn light of C-I-ACT’S mission to further sexuality and intimacy recovery after cancer and its treatment effects, we are initiating an Ask Rivka column to respond to patient and partner sexuality and intimacy questions and concerns. Questions will be screened and selected based on their applicability to a majority of site visitors as Rivka will not have the full background on each person who submits questions. In the event that you have immediate psychological problems, we urge you to contact your health care provider or a qualified medical practitioner in your community.

Rivka is an educated and qualified Licensed Graduate Social Worker licensed in Maryland. Sexuality training was her focus during her undergraduate and graduate programs and was complemented by her work with internationally renowned sex therapist, Dr. Laura Berman, at the Berman Center for Sexuality Training.

Click here to read the GUIDELINES for submitting questions.

Questions and Answers


My husband has just completed his treatments for ED and his doctor says that we can now begin intercourse again. How do we even begin after all this time? What if it doesn't work?
Signed By: Paula


Hi Paula- I'm so glad that your husband is recovering. It sounds like it's been quite the break from sexual activity. It seems like you care for your husband very much and that you are very sensitive to his feelings. I would recommend talking to your husband now about how you're feeling because he's likely having those same questions too. Start with open communication, hugs, kisses, and tell him that there's no pressure to do anything more. I would recommend telling him that you are just happy he's well and that you don't need the night to end up with intercourse. This will hopefully take the pressure off the two of you and just let you re-explore each other.


I am a 59 year old woman with a history of breast cancer, but have been cancer-free for 9 years. Ever since the cancer and my new implant (years ago) I have felt embarrassed about the way my breasts look and have not let my husband touch them even though he says they look great. How can i get over this? It's hurting him and me so much!
Signed By: Joan


Hi Joan. First of all, it's completely normal to feel embarrassed about the way your body looks now. It's a huge change! It sounds you are feeling like they are disconnected to you, as if they are a foreign object. I would recommend spending some time in the light looking at yourself and getting re-acquainted. I would also encourage speaking with your husband about your self-consciousness. This will likely help you feel more comfortable and connected with your husband on this issue. On the physical level--I'd say to start slow. Start by guiding him and showing him the "new you." You can ease into the lighted room gradually once you've become comfortable with touch in the dark. Finally, it does sound like you've been suffering with this for quite some time, so seeking professional therapy for this would be appropriate if you see no improvement. Good luck.

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