cancer de la prostate et sexualité

Sexual life post-prostatectomy: Patient, Partner & couple solutions

We’ll review in this article the concrete solutions to enhance sexual recovery for surgically-treated men with prostate cancer.

The removal of the prostate triggers libido, erection and ejaculation issues that interferes with interest in sex and/or ability to engage in sexual relations.

To facilitate sexual intercourse & return to a normal sexuality it is advised patient will be following specific treatments (to be addressed through a future article).

Treatment success will require patience (sexual recovery often takes several months) as well as motivation of the patient and his partner, and most of the time medical support.

 

The patient

Patient can resign to abandon sex life by focusing on healing his cancer, especially when there were already prior to cancer diagnosis serious sexual difficulties.

He may also feel guilty in front of his partner. He’ll no longer take the initiative in sexual intercourse fearing it could reveal his problems as well as feel anxious to implement solutions that he pictures as annoying. He can also let his sexual life rapidly worsen using as an alibi the side effects of treatments.

To avoid such situations, it is essential patient will:

  • Communicate with no taboo,
  • Accept not to be bothered neither by normal difficulties to have erections and ejaculations, nor by treatment solutions adopted for this purpose.
  • Start following treatments as soon as possible and, above all, be motivated to recover a blooming sexuality.

 

The partner

The partner may lose interest in the sexual dimension and redirect her love only on the emotional fashion, or focus energies on ways she can provide assistance. She might also feel powerless to problems of her husband.

Actually, the partner should motivate the patient in following treatments prescribed, by remaining patient, discreet and persistent to excite his desire. To that end, it is advised she’ll play a proactive role by taking unusual initiatives particularly during the sexual recovery period that can take long time.

However, thepartner must also care to maintain her own sexual happiness without putting aside her needs for her spouse sole welfare. We must not lose sight of fact, taken from a study run in 2009 by the French Association of Urology, 59% of women declared renouncing to their sexuality once their partner is diagnosed with prostate cancer. This situation must be corrected for the welfare of women and for the restoration of couple’s sexual life. Indeed, man’s pleasure is not only based on his own enjoyment, the satisfaction he can provide to his spouse is also a key element of his pleasure.

 

The couple

happy coupleMiscommunication & misunderstanding within the couple can lead to tensions, while the couple is already dealing with various physical and psychological problems inherent to sexual recovery period.

The couple must focus energies on following the treatments prescribed to maximize chances to recover as soon as possible a normal sexual life through progressive stages.

2main reasons why success is important:

  1. Psychologically – normal sexuality has positive impact on couple life, It shouldn’t been abandoned
  2. Physically – by maintaining a good elasticity of erectile tissues within the corpora cavernosa and thus prevent erectile function from “rusting”.

 

The couple should gradually through shared work, develop new forms of sensuality and sexuality tailored to the patient’s situation and often invent new types of sexual intercourse (sometimes without sexual penetration), with new ways of achieving orgasm & excitement.

 

Medical supports

The patient difficulties to enjoy a blooming sex life are often experienced as an attack on his manhood. The partner and the couple themselves are psychologically affected and, in most cases, consulting a sexologist is recommended. The latter, acting as a team with the urologist, implements methods to mitigate to the maximum ejaculation and erection problems, and takes into account the sexual partner concerns.

A dialogue is thus established between the sexologist and the couple, where each participant expresses his troubles and questions while the physician provides appropriate psychological support and reassuring answers.

This approach should be privileged early to prevent possible blockages once first difficulties will be faced and help the couple understanding the limitations of treatments. In case of persistent difficulties, a psychosexual follow-up support might be required.

A psychological reassuranced reduces sexual problems, while in the other direction, returning to a satisfactory sexuality level will contribute to improve patient’s psychological comfort, for instance helping him to regain his virile identity sense.

 

Some bibliographic elements:

Patient key Role  (French)

http://www.ligue-cancer.net/sites/default/files/brochures/sexualite-cancer-homme.pdf

Partner key role (French)

http://aihus.fr/prod/data/publications/cancer-sexualite/BenNaoum.pdf

Medical support and partner role

http://urofrance.org/nc/science-et-recherche/base-bibliographique/article/html/sexualite-et-cancer-de-la-prostate.html

Couple key role

http://www.e-cancer.fr/cancerinfo/aider-un-proche-malade/les-relations/relations-de-couple/relations-sexuelles

Prostate and couple sexuality

http://urofrance.org/fileadmin/medias/journee-prostate/2007/dossier-presse.pdf