Monday May 9 session No 31 (2 to go)
I think it’s fair to say that we know each other quite well now. This is after all the 36th time I have sat down to write for you. (19,970 words and counting…)
Soon, very soon, thank goodness, this journey will be over. So I think it’s time we talked about the elephant in the room.
Let’s talk about sex.
Consider this as your official warning – this is likely to get a bit explicit for some tastes.
But I think it’s important to write about this because I think too few men with prostate cancer are willing to talk about how this disease affects their sex lives.
If you or someone you love or care for has prostate cancer I hope this will help you understand what you/he may be experiencing and what may be going on inside your/his head.
One big fat caveat before I go any further. I can only write about my own personal experience. That is specific to the particular treatments I’ve had and to my view of the world. I suspect my experience will be recognised by a lot of people with prostate cancer, but everybody is different.
If your prostate is surgically removed (as mine was) you can be sure of two things.
Firstly that your cock will be shorter – the process of removing your prostate means shortening your urethra and hence your cock.
And secondly that you will never, ever be able to ejaculate again.
The first really didn’t bother me, the second did – a lot.
I was dismayed how much I missed this quintessentially male activity; this very physical demonstration of one’s profound sexual and emotional feelings.
And because you can’t ejaculate any more you will find the nature of your orgasms has changed.
You may also have to get used to being temporarily or permanently impotent. I’ve written about this before so I won’t go over all that ground again. I was lucky and my erectile function did return.
But in the months when I was impotent I made two important discoveries about sex after a prostatectomy.
Discovery No 1 : You don’t need a stiffie to have an orgasm.
Discovery No 2 : To make the most of your new plumbing and wiring arrangements down below, you need to adapt to a new kind of orgasm.
Because if you pursue the traditional male climax of an increasingly frantic ascent to the top of the steps before a joyous descent into the water splash below, then you will be disappointed.
The ascent is short and when you push yourself off the top you find that the giant water flume has become a kiddies slide into a paddling pool. And somebody has emptied the paddling pool.
But if you relax and you are lucky enough to have a loving, patient partner and you’re ready to seek what I am reliably informed are more female pleasures, then some beautiful sensations await you.
Rebuilding your sex life in the shadow of prostate cancer is a challenge both for you and your partner. It takes love, patience and a capacity to laugh rather than cry at the inevitable mishaps along the way.
Some people have described the impact of prostate cancer as a direct attack on your sexual identity.
For me and a lot of other men that amounts to a direct attack on your identity as a person; regardless of how sexually active you are, your sexual identity is a major building block of your overall identity.
I would suggest that the best way to cope such an attack is to be flexible and adaptable. Don’t confront the charging bull – sidestep him.
Give up some of the old fortifications and with your partner build a new stronghold for your love.