How Is Chemo Like Sex?

I find myself being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m halfway through chemotherapy.  Halfway.  Three down and three to go.  The end is in sight.

How did my third round go?  It was…different.  I learned that my iron and red blood counts were low from hemorrhaging after my second round.  I needed five days of iron IVs, in addition to my normal three days of post-chemotherapy IVs, to try to bring my counts up before my next treatment.  Between the added IVs and the fact that my pressure was dangerously low at 63/44, my oncologist advised me to do a whole lot of nothing for ten days.  The hope is that all those IVs and taking it easy will help my counts increase. If they don't go up by November 22nd, my next treatment will be postponed.  Positive thoughts and prayers are currently being accepted since I don’t want my treatment to be delayed.

I’ve been thinking lately that chemotherapy and sex have a lot in common.  (Yes, you read that correctly.) 

Let me count the ways:

1. Everybody and every body are different.  I try to include disclaimers with every Sex Advice post that what works for one person in the bedroom might not work for another.  It’s important to know your body and listen to your partner’s body to ensure the best possible experience.

When it comes to chemo, oncologists prescribe different combinations of chemotherapy drugs, depending on the type of cancer, the severity or stage, and the patient’s health.  The same cancer can be treated in a variety of ways, and every patient responds uniquely;

2. You never know how long it’s going to last.  With sex, you don’t always know going in if it will be a quickie or a two-hour, multi-position marathon.  With chemo, some low-dose regimes are given every day in a row for only two or three weeks.  Stronger chemotherapy drugs are typically administered once every two or three weeks for a minimum of four rounds;

3. Hair matters.  In the bedroom, personal grooming south of the border is important.  Paging Model Boy…  With respect to chemo, it’s an unfortunate rite of passage if you are given a powerful form of chemotherapy that causes hair loss;

4. You might not be able to predict how you’ll feel afterward.  There’s no rhyme or reason as to why one person can feel perfectly content after a one-night stand or sex with an ex-partner, while another feels more negative emotions.  Biologically, women experience an endorphin rush after reaching orgasm, while men experience a reverse sensation and feel like sleeping.  How many times have you finished having sex and come out of the experience with a distinctly different take or energy level than your partner? 

Having chemo is very similar in this regard.  Two people can respond to the same treatment in very disparate ways.  One person can just feel tired after chemotherapy, and another person has every possible side effect;

5. The purpose varies.  Sometimes sex is just sex.  Sometimes sex is an expression of love.  Sometimes sex is a way to say, “goodbye,” at the end of a relationship.  And, sometimes, sex is like a drug.

Chemotherapy serves a variety of purposes, too.  For some, it provides hope, while for others, it’s used to prepare the body for transplants.  And, in the roughest of cases, it’s administered as a last resort; and

6. The Finish Line!  Hey, I’m not knocking the enjoyment to be had during the process, but don’t we all hope to cum by the time we’re done having sex?  It’s not called climax for nothing!  With chemotherapy, the finish line is also the goal.  All that matters is getting there.

How is chemo not like sex?

One is my favorite thing to do, and one is my least favorite thing to do.  But, I think that’s stating the obvious. xoxo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *