Sexualizing breast cancer… survivors

Posted by Tom Megginson | 20-10-2011 18:28 | Category: Health, Pinkverts, Women's Issues

One of the things you hear and read about breast cancer is that it attacks women’s sexual self-image. Whether or not you agree with society’s sexualization of breasts, there is no escaping that they are part of the package. And damage to — or loss of — breast tissue, not to mention the fear and sickness of treatment, would be enough to depress anyone’s libido.

This is why I find this line of “pink” products from Pure Romance intriguing.

Sexualizing breast cancer… survivors. Pinkwashing, pinkverts

These aren’t discrete medical devices or marital aides. These are down and dirty sex toys and paraphernalia. The pitch: “Developed especially for women diagnosed with breast cancer, this collection contains safe and effective products for women to use before, during and after treatment.”

And they do more than sell product—they provide sex therapy for survivors:

(Continued after break)

“The SSS program has a mission to help women recapture their sensual and sexual selves through education, empowerment, and safe product offerings designed specifically for women following cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Our Certified Pure Romance Consultants have embraced the opportunity to enhance the lives of women touched by cancer. It is unfortunate that many women are not aware of all the side effects of their breast cancer treatments and how to overcome them. With the help of our educational materials, products, and resources, our Consultants will be able to provide these women with the confidence they need to improve the quality of their sexual health.

Certified SSS Consultants pledge to offer safe products to enhance women’s sexual experiences and raise public awareness on intimacy and sexual challenges faced by women with cancer.  Consultants will provide an ongoing support network for women and their partners following cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

Patty Brisben, Founder and CEO of Pure Romance, says she founded this Corporate Social Responsibility effort after one of her consultants for the main line of sexual products contacted her to explain how much her training and samples were helping her cope with life after a breast cancer diagnosis. Sadly, the consultant did not survive. But Brisben vowed “to make a difference in the lives of women fighting cancer –to help them regain their spirit and have a quality of life which they may have lost sight of during the course of their illness.”

Sexualizing breast cancer… survivors. Pinkwashing, pinkverts

There’s something to be said from this effort. Sure, they’re selling products with it. But to see a woman-centric company selling sex positivity reach out in such an intimate way to other women seems more sincere, somehow, than some of the less “naughty” efforts. They claim their products are safe, and hopefully they are. But I think this effort to fulfil a very human need puts them among the good Breast Cancer Awareness marketers. What do you think?

Pure Romance: Sensuality, Sexuality, Survival!


Comments about Sexualizing breast cancer... survivors

About f***ing time! Women’s sexuality is NEVER discussed before during or after any form of treatment. Women have their breasts amputated unaware of the fact that ‘reconstruction’ is a cosmetic procedure that will not restore sensation, or even result in realistic looking breasts. Nobody will tell you that they are about to ruin your body and your sex life forever. The last ten years have been sexually humiliating, and have left me a sexless freak. I wish I had at least been warned.

Posted by Redblues | 8-12-2013 21:39

My comment


Your comment will not be visible until a moderator approves it.

Some rights reserved 2005-2013 Osocio/Houtlust.
Disclaimer. Terms of use. Privacy statement.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Support us

Do you like our blog? Support us with a donation.
We're non-commercial. We all make Osocio pro bono in our spare time and we can use some support.

image of a graduation cap

Recent in Academy

Is this eating disorder ad too sexy?

It’s a serious question. This woman has the typical idealized body of a model, and despite the scary body painting, the portrayal is undeniably drawing attention to her curves and bare skin. When I think about eating disorders, I try to imagine looking in the mirror and seeing a funhouse…
Read more

Book review: Hidden Persuasion

33 psychological influence techniques in advertising Designing for behavior change is our thing here on Osocio.  We discuss the wide area of social campaigns from all over the world. ‘Is it a good or bad campaign’ is our first question. And we often judge a campaign based on professional principles…
Read more

About Osocio

Osocio is dedicated to social advertising and non-profit campaigns. It’s the place where marketing and activism collide. Formerly known as the Houtlust Blog, Osocio is the central online hub for advertisers, ad agencies, grassroots, activists, social entrepreneurs, and good Samaritans from around the globe.
Read more

(the about page is also available in Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese 汉语/漢語, Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano, Nihongo 日本語, Ivrit עברית, Filipino, Polski, Português, Russian Русский язык, Slovenčina, Suomi, Svenska and Türkçe)