It has been an exciting month for the non-profit arm of my company, the Patty Brisben Foundation. The first of many research articles funded by the PBF have been published in Cancer Nursing. After a study conducted involving young women fighting breast cancer diagnosis, researchers at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion found that their intimate relationships were still a very important part of their quality of life. Many of these women were struggling so much with the side effects of their treatment that even several years after treatment they were still coping with the changes in their bodies, and how those changes impacted their intimate lives. I hope that this information will help to educate the many health care providers who work so hard to help women facing cancer treatments maintain the quality of life they are fighting so hard to save.
For the past several years I have dedicated much of my time and energy to help these women who are fighting not only to breast cancer, but to continue to live the life they deserve after diagnosis. This is why I started the cancer outreach program at Pure Romance called Sensuality, Sexuality, Survival (SSS); through education, outreach and safe products, we are offering women a way to cope with the changes in their intimate lives… and have some fun again!
One of the most important messages I give women who are coping with a stressful situation in their relationship, whether it is because of illness or other life obstacles we are faced with, is the importance of remaining open and honest with their partner. In Pure Romance Between the Sheets, I spent a great deal of time writing Chapter Five, Pillow Talk: Learning How to Stay Close, because I think many of us need a reminder as to why it is so important to maintain the lines of communication within a relationship. Good communication is based on three key things: trust, acceptance, and openness, and these three things are essential to a healthy intimate relationship – especially one faced with a cancer diagnosis.
Strong communication is the absolute cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Learning (or re-learning) how to communicate with your partner about your intimate life is just one part of the puzzle. Finding ways to connect, to share your thoughts and feelings, making time to spend together in activities you both enjoy, and sharing an ability to express love in thoughtful words and deeds are habits of couples who make communication a top priority. Taking time to focus on these skills, can ensure that a woman faced with cancer and her partner will be able to nurture and maintain a relationship that will keep her physically and emotionally connected for a lifetime! As I have said so many times in the past, pillow talk is important for all couples, so get talking!