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Former ‘Bachelor’ Contestant Lesley Murphy Opens Up About Struggles With Intimacy Following Double Mastectomy

Lesley Murphy of Season 17 of The Bachelor underwent a preventative double mastectomy last summer. She’s been open about her procedures, both the mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, but recently she talked about what the procedures have meant for her sex life.

Murphy came in fifth place during Sean Lowe’s season of the dating show. A few years after she received her last rose, she appeared on the spin-off show, The Bachelor Winter Games.

In March 2017, Murphy took to Instagram to talk about the fact that she had tested positive for the BRCA2 gene.

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I've been thinking on what message to put out there about power, courage, and love and then it hit me… #InternationalWomensDay is the perfect time to share what I've been up to the past few weeks. It has nothing to do with exciting new destinations or more stamps in my passport. A couple of weeks ago I found out I'm BRCA2 positive, which means I'm at a high risk for breast and ovarian cancer one day. Buzzzz kill. I know. But it's true what they say – knowledge is power. I'm left with a few options and have decided that preventative surgery is what I want over various screenings multiple times a year. A double mastectomy at 2freaking9. Wtf?! Yep, it's happening. In no way am I looking for pity through this story. I've wanted to share the news since the beginning simply to be an advocate for early screenings, detections and girl power??Bear with the choppy edits/audio. Day 2 video is coming (reconstruction/plastics, exciting stuff!) but in the interim, I'll be celebrating boobs, knowledge, taking action, and my breast cancer surviving mother today?PS if you see dirt on my forehead, I shot this on Ash Wednesday?

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She got tested for the gene following her mother’s battle with breast cancer in 2014. Her mom is now in remission.

Murphy’s Instagram chronicled her experience with her double mastectomy and her reconstructive surgery last summer.

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Happy with a 100% chance of swollen?Exchange surgery was a success and a huge difference from the double mastectomy surgery. After 3 hours I woke up and drank some ginger ale, saw my mom, discussed things with my sweet nurse and was wheeled out of my favorite hospital…where I felt like we hit every bump in the road on the way home?Ouuuuch. My plastic surgeon said he tried many different variations and sizes and after consulting every woman in the hospital?he decided on 500 CC implants, which is actually smaller than my expander size when you take into consideration those CCs plus the bulky expander. Dr. Wright, thank you for ridding me of those boulders and giving me my normalcy back! You are a magician and I am in awe of your talents. Thanks also to everyone @uamshealth for treating me like a queen ever since I first walked through your doors at the beginning of March. What an incredible experience this has been.??#lesleysbreasties #lesnipsbrcainthebud #breastcancerawareness

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On October 17, in honor of Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, Murphy took to her hit travel blog, The Road Les Traveled, to write a post titled “The Truth About Intimacy After A Double Mastectomy.”

In the post, she discussed what it’s like to be intimate with reconstructed breasts.

“Dating after a double mastectomy can be really weird. I can tell my story all day for advocacy and awareness reasons, but to tell a potential partner about what to expect is scary – no matter how confident I may be about my decision.”

She told readers she wasn’t prepared for the more personal side of recovery.

“While I was aware about the lack of sensation, nobody discussed the self-consciousness I’d face when being intimate with someone for the 1st or 5th or 10th time. How exactly do you tell someone that no, that route of foreplay won’t work on me. Nope, still can’t feel anything there. Hey, easy on the squeeze, please. Yeah, that ripple you see there…that’s my new party trick, hope you like it!”

Murphy admitted that, even though she maintains a sunny disposition, it’s not always easy.

“Not all days are rainbows and daisies. I have an inner critic that frequently tells me my chest isn’t normal. Then, my inner best friend comes into play and says DIFFERENT is SEXY, and she always wins.”

She concluded by telling readers about ReSensation, a new technology that helps restore feeling in breasts after a mastectomy.

She also posted on Instagram on the same day to direct her followers to her blog post.

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I’ve had implants inside my chest for over a year now and have zero regrets. The upside to all of this: I now have a 1% chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. The downside? I lost all feeling in my breasts and, well, let’s just say they aren’t the most natural looking things all the time. I wrote about it all today on Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day 🙂 I also wrote about what no one talks about – what it's really like to be intimate after a double mastectomy. Lastly – I discuss a new technique designed to restore sensation in breasts after surgery (mine are completely numb). Science is so cool. Link in bio. @resensation #resensation #breastreconstructionawarenessday #breastcancerawareness #mastectomy #partner

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Murphy’s openness has not only inspired people but has also been informative.

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As Murphy concluded her blog post:

“We are all beautiful no matter what route we choose.”

H/T: Health, The Road Les Traveled, Instagram, IMDb

Written by B Miller

Travel lover, dog Mom, Slytherin, future wifey.