THE FEELING MYSELF CAMPAIGN

It’s May mateys. And you know what that means? Nope not just our fabulous founder Lozza’s birthday. It is also National Masturbation Month – or May-sturbation to those in the sex biz. What better time to get hot and heavy on the subject of sexual pleasure and reconnection following a cancer diagnosis eh?

Now we ain’t exactly ones to beat around the *ahem* bush at GIRLvsCANCER, so let’s say it how it is. Cancer isn’t sexy. Far fucking from it.

Corrosive treatments and mortality confronting convos tend not to make for the most lustful laden moments to be honest. With ourselves let alone anyone else. Our bodies get all dramatic on us and morph in ways we often struggle to comprehend or accept. And yeah, no shit we’re grateful that this magnificent set of cells has carried us this far. That it has survived the mammoth amount of trauma that has been thrown at it and continues to do us right on the daily. It’s an incredible, bloody beautiful thing.

But you know what. Sometimes (read: most the time) when you’re stood looking down at limbs that have betrayed you and that you really don’t recognise. It’s hard to… swallow.

We couldn’t help but wonder – in Carrie Bradshaw style – that even after treatments ease, hair sprouts back (in all the places), scars begin to fade, long-term effects become more apparent and we begin to adapt to our so-called ‘new normal’. Why is it that we find the return to our sexual and intimate experiences at the bottom of our agenda?

Whether you’ve been dealt the cancer-card or not, there’s no denying that how we feel about our bodies penetrates our erogenous experiences.

In fact a 2019 YouGov survey with the Mental Health Foundation found that one in five adults believed their sex life has been negatively affected by their body image in the past year.

If the general populous are in a flap (tehehehe) over intimacy imagine what throwing a cancer diagnosis into the mix will do for you. Or not. As existing research – and our own lived experience, aka shagging – tells us.

Everything from societal shame to medical stumbling blocks, has without doubt held back women and people with vulvas from having a positive body image and thus positive sexual experiences. 45% of the women (compared to 25% of men) in that same survey said their body image made them depressed, and 51% of women in another survey reported experiencing some kind of sexual difficulty including vaginal dryness.

Medical menopause crew stand up!

So get down to it then – I hear you moan. And groan. How is this Feeling Myself campaign going to satisfy me?

Well, it occurred to us that in the cancer community conversations around sexual intimacy usually start with – Who will want me? Will they find me sexy? How do I even begin to explain? These convos centre the other party, and not ourselves. To which we say:

Fuck that. But most importantly – Fuck yourself.

Our mates at Smile Makers conducted a girthy sexual wellness study and found that 73% of women who have pleasure-positive sex education have a better relationship with their body, whereas only 54% who didn’t get that schooling can say the same.

A huge appendage of pleasure-positive sex ed is rooted in masturbation. Praise be. Taking the time out for self-exploration allows people with vulvas to discover what they enjoy. And it will be no surprise to anyone that those who use vibrators are more sexually satisfied, know their bodies better and also believe their partner has a better understanding of their bod as well as being more aware of pleasure anatomy.

It’s a yes, yes, YES from us.

This May-sturbation we’re challenging the cancer girls, gays and they’s to see what happens if we stop getting hung up on whether others will find us attractive and switched the focus to finding ourselves attractive? To fully accept ourselves stories, scars, stomas an’ all. To begin to fuel the fire within by feeling ourselves first- quite literally.

Because, as Supermodel Drag Queen of the world RuPaul says, “if you can’t love yourself how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” Can we get an amen up in here? No really. We want you seeing God sis.

Since day dot we’ve been preaching the gospel of getting to know your body to prevent late diagnosis – checking your bits and being mindful of your bod – and now we want you to pay it a different kind of attention. The kind it deserves. 

Sexual wellness is key to satisfying our physically and mentally health. Who wouldn’t want better sleep, relief from stress, improved mood and a strengthened immune system? Duh.

The Feeling Myself campaign sets out to explore sexual connection and intimacy, placing the cancer crew’s relationship with themselves as priority. Whether it’s physical barriers to pleasure or uncovering confidence, join us under the covers and lay it all bare.


THE GIRLS


Who better to help us spark the chat and change than three sexy, powerful women from the GIRLvsCANCER fam?

Let us introduce you to Andrea! Hailing from North East England, our bowel cancer surviving babe is a personal assistant for a digital advertising firm who see her as the office mum. You may recognise her beaut mug; she’s a dancer who’s starred in everything from panto to grime music videos. 40-year-old Andrea might be missing getting out on the dance floor but shielding ain’t stopped her from living. She got back into sewing and joined a scrub-making group that made scrubs from scratch to local hospitals during the pandemic, including her own cancer hospital. Don’t you love a full circle moment!

Want to stay in touch with Andrea? You can find her here:

@GoodAsGold_AKR

Next up we want you to get to know Charlotte! She’s a fucking mind-blowing woman we’ve known for a while through her freelance work with our mates at Black Women Rising. Diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma in 2007, Char has defied the odds to learn how to walk and talk again after treatment caused the extremely rare side effect of shutting down her nervous system. Since then she has gone on to become an incredibly motivational figure through her work as an author and holistic wellness advisor. Watch this space because Charlotte is currently working on an app to support people to build a holistic lifestyle. There’s no one quite like our Char, she’s EVERYTHING!

Want to stay in touch with Charlotte? You can find her here:

@CharlotteCrowl

Last but not least, say hey to Tara! She’s 75% coffee, 25% red wine- or the other way round, she’s not sure (HARD RELATE!). Our rescue dog-mumma looks after affiliate partnerships for a gaming retailer at work but the tables turned when she was diagnosed with triple positive breast cancer in 2019 and was the one needing some looking after. Our gal is waiting for bod to heal more from treatment so she can get out on her new mountain bike- something she never would have done before cancer. With an eclectic taste in music, Tara can’t wait to get back out on the dance floor after having to shield during the pandemic. Same babe, we’ll see ya there with a bevvie in hand!

Want to stay in touch with Tara? You can find her here:

@NotTodayCancerNotToday


THE DEALS



Here at GIRLvsCANCER we take our commitment to facilitating your climax very seriously and so we’re bringing you some BDE.

Big discount energy.

We’ve joined forces with with sexy sods at Smile Makers – Smile Makers by name Smile Makers by nature – to create a pair of bundles for you to grab hold of. Trust us they’re worth screaming about.

Smile Makers have donated 100 of their best-selling ‘The Millionaire’ and ‘The Tennis Coach’ toys for us to sell at 25% OFF RRP and donating  all sales to us here at GIRLvsCANCER. Phwoooar.

Talk about giving you more bang for your buck *wink*.

But because we like group activities we invited our mates The YES YES Company to get right involved an’ all. Everyone who places their hands on a Smile Makers vibrator will also receive not one, but two Yes! Organics lubricants to enhance your sexual pleasure and make sure you come through drippin’. Literally.


From May 10th 2021 to May 31st 2021 we’ve got into bed with some bloody brilliant brands to give it to you in the form of delectable discounts on their websites to stimulate smiles you won’t be able to fake.

Many of these reductions and commodities will climax with a donation, to us, here at GIRLvsCANCER. Allowing us to invest back into the cancer community and make this an inviting environment that will keep you coming back for more.


GIRLVSCANCER20 Gets You:

20% OFF at LoveRose Lingerie 
with the 20% donated back to us at GIRLvsCANCER.

20% OFF at Vanilla Blush

20% OFF at Valiant Lingerie

Enter the code GIRLVSCANCER20 at their checkouts to receive 20% OFF.


GIRLVSCANCER15 Gets You:

15% OFF at Pai Skincare 
with £1 of every product purchased donated to GIRLvsCANCER

15% OFF at Beija London

Enter the code GIRLVSCANCER15 at their checkouts to receive 15% OFF.


GIRLvsCANCER CREW

Art Direction: Lauren Mahon
Production Assistant: Emma McAuley
Location: Mama Shelter London
Photography: Kaye Ford + Alex Cameron
Videography: Rosalind Alcazar
Make-Up: Laurretta Power 
Hair: Julie Ganina
Styling: Alessia Farnessi