That question is not just my headline today. I would really like to know, so I've been doing some research on the topic. Don't snigger - not that kind of sex research! I've been reading medical papers as well as breast cancer survivor forums. You and I have probably heard the old joke about "Libby-Do became Libby-Don't!" thousands of times. But not everybody feels that way - Debra Jarvis, a hospital oncology chaplain, wrote in her book that after treatment, she found that she "had become a virgin again!" Jarvis took a field trip to an adult-only store, found a colorful (ahem) accessory, and fixed her problem. Other women have worried that their sudden lack of libido will cost them their marriage or their mate, and it's probably happened after breast cancer.
But several factors may come into play here - the loss of one or both breasts, continuing side effects of chemotherapy, skin tenderness after radiation, or a change in self-esteem. Sometimes a woman feels that her femininity has been diminished or destroyed by breast cancer treatments. Others feel that hormonal changes caused by tamoxifen is just part of the challenge, and can be dealt with over time. So my question isn't really as simple as it sounds. Physical intimacy after a life-threatening illness may not come automatically. And if you didn't have a partner before your diagnosis, then you have some additional issues to work on, and relationships - old and new - can get really tricky.
Medical research doesn't satisfactorily answer my question because it usually says that patients suffered no change in sexual drive. But on online forums, it's a hot topic of complaint and distress. So it depends on who you ask, and just how you ask it! Let me know what you think - your poll responses are anonymous, by the way. And if you feel like talking about it - please leave me a comment.