Dr. Katz describes why she believes women often do not feel attractive.
I think in the society that we live in, women are very, very hard on themselves around body image. You know, we’re too thin, our breasts aren’t big enough, our butts are too large, and we have this completely unrealistic expectation of what normal is and the many, many different shapes and forms that healthy women take and really are beautiful and sexy.
So I, not uncommonly, have a couple in my office, and the woman eventually turns to her partner and says, “How can you want me? Look at how damaged I am. Look at how changed I am. You know, I don’t have any breasts or I have one misshapen breast. How could you possibly want me?” And what I always do is say to the woman, “Look at your partner. Does he or she look the same as they did 25 years ago?”
We all laugh, right? He has put on 40 pounds, he has lost most of his hair, he is wrinkly, he has got a . . . you know. And the women always say to me, “Well, of course not, I love him. I love the essence of him.” And my response to that is, “Grant yourself the same grace because he or she loves the essence of you and is not looking at your outward appearance or loves your outward appearance.”
About Dr. Katz, R.N., Ph.D.:
My professional life is focused on providing information, education and counseling to people with cancer and their partners about sexual changes that can occur during and after treatment. But there is another important aspect to this work; I want every cancer patient to be able to have a discussion about sexuality with their health care providers.