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Sex After Prostate Cancer – How Couples Can Cope – Part 3

Posted Mar 24 2010 12:00am
This is the third of a three-part article about how prostate cancer and its treatment affects women and couples.

Eliciting Greater Communication When a Man Avoids Intimacy After Prostate Cancer

All too often erectile dysfunction causes men to feel they’ve lost their manhood. The net result is he may withdraw from any intimacy with the woman he loves, adversely affecting both the man and his partner.

It has taken my wife and me considerable time to learn how to be open with each other again. By now both of us have readily managed to communicate our frustrations and desires. As a result, we have immersed ourselves in rebuilding the intimacy that characterized us for most of nearly 37 years of marriage.

What Men and Women Can Do

To avoid disappointment with sex after prostate cancer treatment, spell out your needs to your partner rather than asking them to second-guess what’s important to you. Be clear but gentle, and maintain the give-and-take relationship that can endear you to each other—the way my wife and I have . . . most of the time!

Above all, men and women should avoid self-recrimination or mutual blame. We should not put ourselves down for our inability to function as the “studs” or “babes” we once were. Acknowledging this will help prostate cancer survivors and their wives alike. Together we can attain the physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy we desire and deserve for satisfying sex after prostate cancer.

For more information, see Part 1 and Part 2 of this article. 

Excerpted from A Couple's Cancer, published in Cure magazine, Spring, 2010.

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