Sexuality and body image after reconstruction
Having a breast reconstruction should not necessarily interfere with sexual activity. However, having a reconstructed breast(s) may affect the way you feel about and respond to intimacy.
"I have had a reconstruction (which I did for myself) and feel better within myself and very confident; but still miss the caressing and kissing of my breasts. You don't know how sensual they are until they are gone and the nice feeling you have during sexual encounters."
Sensation in the reconstructed breast(s) will not be the same as it was before mastectomy. There may be no sensation or minimal sensation in the breast(s). Some women find that their reconstructed breast(s) is extremely sensitive to touch.
It is important that your partner also has realistic expectations about breast reconstruction. This may help your partner adjust to the differences in how you look and to understand how you might be feeling.
"I have not felt as sexually alive or attractive for a couple of reasons... the loss of sensation in the nipples, and more importantly its connection with and role in sexual stimulation. I am still sad about that loss, over a decade on."
"It's not the same as it was…It certainly doesn't feel the same to touch, and it certainly doesn't feel the same for someone else to touch, from the inside and the outside... It's quite an obvious difference."
"My husband did not know how to respond to my reconstructed breast - ignore them or play with them! He just didn't want to cause me any distress, so was not quite sure what to do. My husband enjoys having his nipples stimulated and felt guilty that he could gain pleasure from his nipples and I could not."