There Are Other WAYS To Be Intimate After Prostate Cancer


Stay connected even AFTER prostate cancer—It is POSSIBLE!

At a time when my man's precious pleasure tool was soon to be assaulted by a scalpel, and possibly injured for life, I wondered if we would ever have sex again.   

Every time the doctor poked his head into the waiting room, we tried to read his face.

"Did he just look at us? I asked David.

"I think so," he answered. "I wonder if he just remembered that today is our day to get the bad news?" David replied and grabbed my hand.

A few minutes later the doctor called us into his office. Once we were settled, he excused himself as doctors often do, leaving us hanging on for dear life. By the time he came back and leafed through the stack of papers on his desk, my gut was in knots for what turned out to be good reason—my boyfriend of barely one year had prostate cancer.

We both had had our share of past relationships and had seen the good, bad and ugly. When you get to be a certain age, that's just the way it is. Feeling overwhelmingly grateful for finding one another—me in my late forties and him in his mid-fifties—we were slowly but surely working our way into the type of relationship we had always craved.

Over the last few months, we explore a new kind of partnership. David was following my lead to drop his guard and share his emotional needs, and I had dared to be less independent, more vulnerable. We had learned it was ok to trust, and be trusted. To love and be loved.

And now this.

After the initial shock wore off, we went into action. Although David had cancer, every important (and even unimportant) decision was made together. We ultimately opted for surgery. Without getting into all of the gory details, cutting out the cancer rather than various alternative treatments just felt like the right way to go. We had a month to prepare and were determined to make the best of it. We added homemade green juice to our menu, and sought out energy healing. We tried to remain as positive as possible.

It was only challenging when imagining how David's diagnosis could affect our intimacy. The difficult truth was that incontinence and impotence are possible side effects of the surgery, to say nothing of the emotional ramifications. We had finally found the one person in the world we wanted to be with in body, mind and spirit and … it just felt like a cruel joke.

"On a scale from 1-10, how afraid are you?" I asked David on one of our daily walks.

"I don't have any cancer in my family. And I got the best surgeon," he said. "He operated on one of the Kennedys—my chances are good."

"Are you worried you might never have a hard-on again?"

"That's not an option," David said. "I run the numbers all the time and I believe I end up in the top ten percentile."

Sooner or later our conversation always arrived at the same place: The doctors believed they had caught the cancer early and we believed that we had found each other for a reason.

The days after the surgery we lay low. Most of the day David napped while I sat next to him in bed, playing out all kinds of scenarios in my head. Would I ever feel him inside me again? Will our relationship change if he can't get it up? Will he feel less of a man? Will I feel less of a woman? As I thought about the future, our two cats provided an epiphany.

Watching them mess around, I realized that there's a lot of affection exchanged between the, um, castrated male and his female. He licks her face, wrestles with her on the floor and chases her up and down the stairs.

Then I thought about my horse, who's also emasculated. He had picked one of the mares in his herd as his significant other, rigorously grooming her with his lips and teeth. And, somewhat embarrassing to admit, I've seen him dry-hump her when she's in heat. So who's to say my love and I can't have similar experiences? We have lips and teeth and fingers and toes. We have staircases, countertops and grassy meadows.

"We have lots to explore, lovey," I said to David when he woke up from his nap. He gave my hand a gentle squeeze. Prostate cancer is a bitch, no doubt. But, after accepting the reality of what was now part of our life, I realized that there is a future for intimacy, no matter if it involves sex or not. 

This article was originally published at My article, previously published - changed and re-edited at Purple Clover.. Reprinted with permission from the author.