Martine Risch, sexologist and psychologist from the Cancer Foundation Luxembourg talks about the double taboo of sex and cancer. Cindy Gallop shares the reasons for Make Love Not Porn's global success.
Following on from a look-back at the week's news with Sasha Kehoe, my guests this week talk about sex, breaking down the taboos of intimacy in relation to cancer, and real-life sex versus porn.
Free psychological & onco-sexological counselling to cancer patients & relatives
Martine Risch is head of the Luxembourg Cancer Foundation's psycho-social service. With her training as a psychologist, psychotherapist, clinical sexologist, she offers free psychological and onco-sexological counselling to cancer patients and their relatives in four different languages.
A cancer diagnosis is already one shock to be overcome. With this come myriad other issues which can result in changes to the body for men and women.
"The most important thing is to raise the silence and break the taboo about cancer and sexuality, and also to involve the partner about sexual fears and problems. There are solutions!"
Martine talks about sexuality in all its guises, far from just sexual intercourse.
"Sexuality is way more than that: it’s feeling comfortable in our body, it’s sharing intimacy within the couple"
As more cancers can be cured, there is great hope for life after cancer, but sometimes side effects mean people suffer in different ways .
"Many patients struggle with sexual problems during and after treatments, but the medical staff don't talk about it easily, and most people don’t dare ask. They think they’re the only one suffering from it."
Common problems due to treatments are hair loss, weight gain or loss, scars, mastectomies for women which change the body image rapidly and too drastically, so that people might feel ashamed, might not feel attractive and lose self-esteem.
For men it’s often erectile dysfunction, for women early menopause; lack of desire, the change of their body image and, again, the loss of self-esteem.
Martine talks about the need for communication. She explains that you might withdraw from intimacy because you feel ashamed, and the fear of getting abandoned by your partner is another huge sexual inhibitor.
You can find out more information about the free counselling services and webinars here.
Make Love not Porn
Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn, launched the idea at TED 2009 – ‘Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference’.
In 2013 she turned MakeLoveNotPorn into the world’s first user-generated, human-curated social sex video-sharing platform, "socializing and normalizing sex in order to make it easier to talk about, to promote consent, communication, good sexual values and good sexual behavior".
"MakeLoveNotPorn’s mission is to end rape culture by spearheading the Social Sex Revolution (the revolutionary part isn’t the sex, but the social)."
Cindy has brought the sometimes prudish and embarrassing conversation around sex into slightly more mainstream conversation. Those who know her background know that this lady was a formidable advertising executive in New York; founder and former chair of the US branch of advertising firm Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
Cindy is outspoken and clear in what she wants. Irrepressibly and delightedly single but with many relationships with much younger men. Cindy has never wanted to marry or have children, but enjoys encounters with 'nice men' as she calls them, with her radar for just that.
Ms Gallop's attitude to sex and her outspokenness on ageism is a voice we don't hear often from the female bastion.
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