Sex After Prostate Surgery
I write this hoping that some couples will benefit from what happened in my relationship with a man who turned out to be my best friend, the love of my life and my absolute favorite sex partner. All this was after he underwent prostate surgery. Not all men will experience prostate surgery, but all men and women alike, will experience changes in our sex drives, capabilities and tastes as we head into our 40's, 50's, 60's and beyond. We are constantly changing as years pass. We have different relationships, jobs, homes, ideas, political inclinations, and spiritual affiliations to name a few. So why do we expect our sex lives to stay the same?
As we age, our sexual bodies will need different kinds of stimulation, attention, arousal and climax. We lose our hair, breasts, prostates, uteruses, testes and teeth. There are blood pressure problems and diabetes. We pee more often, lose hard-ons, wear thicker glasses, gain weight, and lose muscle tone as well as flexibility. We take medication that suppresses our sexual desires and makes dicks softer. We have hot flashes and night sweats, yet we still have the same expectations for our bodies that we had 30 years ago. Go figure.
I knew Mike for years as an acquaintance. He's a smart, good looking guy who's always been physically fit. A number of circumstances arose where we began to meet for dinners and I really enjoyed his company. As we grew closer, we talked sex and fantasy, traded stories and laughed a lot. At one of these dinners, Mike told me he'd recently undergone surgery to remove a cancerous prostate. He mentioned that during numerous visits to doctors and surgeons, no one explained to him what the post-op situation would be, i.e. incontinence, scaring, inability to attain an erection, and no more semen. No one mentioned how much of the genital ‘plumbing' and nerve bundles would be damaged. No one gave him any sexual counseling. Naturally he was perplexed and depressed with these bodily changes after surgery.
Thankfully for Mike, and his good physical condition, he recovered quickly from the surgery. After three months he regained urinary control and suffered minimal scaring. For the mental part however, it was a life changing experience. Cancer is a watch and wait game. On one hand, you are grateful for another chance at life, and wary that it can be quickly taken away.
As I listened to his story, I had one burning sexual question, "Do you still masturbate?" He answered yes, and appeared to be relieved that I had asked. Following his surgery, he'd given up any hope of being with a woman and resigned himself to an active imagination and masturbation. Mike said he could experience the feeling of a climax although there was no discharge. As I listened, I thought, "I can have a great time with this guy, both in and out of the bedroom." He was open about his emotions, insightful and if he was ready to try again, I was just the woman for him.
Like most of us, I grew up sexually schooled from the culture at large that claimed a hard dick and penetration was the only way to sexual satisfaction and climax. It was in the movies I saw and the books I read. There was only one problem...it didn't work for me. Penetration was exciting enough as an entrée or dessert after I'd had my orgasm some other way, but by itself, it never worked for me. The path of sexual pleasure was my clitoris, on the outside of my body, not inside my vaginal birth canal. Like most women, I was clit-driven.
Once I understood and enjoyed my body using masturbation with some very helpful Betty Dodson books, I became an equal partner in the bedroom. I didn't have to depend upon the guy to "do it for me" when I discovered what got me off. I liked erotic fantasy, masturbation and I was the ultimate voyeur. The hard cock was nice to have, but not a necessity. Any guy, who could understand this about me and enjoy my sexual perspective, would be a good match. I wanted a partner who could play with me as I am, expand my sexual repertoire and fuel my imagination. I felt sure I could help Mike heal and in return, I'd get some really hot sex - I'd hit pay-dirt.
Our cultures view of sex is through the eye of a penis. If it can't perform, men see themselves as sexless and unable to please their partner. Take note of the vast number of erectile dysfunction or ED campaigns on television! How about countless movie scenes where the sex act ends when the man loses his boner! Please, let's give men a break and take the focus off of the penis and put it back into our biggest organ, the brain. Once I confessed that I loved to masturbate, loved oral sex, used a vibrator and loved vaginal and anal sex with a dildo, my honesty took a lot of pressure off both of us. As it turned out, we now have a wonderful sex life together.
I'd like to share some ideas that worked for us. First is to relax and keep a sense of play and humor in the bedroom. Be patient. Stay in the moment and don't be too goal oriented - you'll both get stage fright. Don't be afraid to try something new and if it doesn't work the first time, don't be afraid to try again. Have a sexual backup plan, if you hit some obstacle in the bedroom. Avoid ending the sex play on a down note. Keep a positive mood going and take joy in small achievements.
Of course your man misses his dick the way it was. Think of what just happened to him: the diagnosis, the surgery, the pain of recovery, the mental stress - this could happen to any one of us. So bring some compassion without pity to the bedroom. Be gentle in spirit, patient and a good listener. Expect that every now and again, some urine may appear somewhere. It's harmless and practically tasteless and part of his healing process that's not always under his control. This can be a source of embarrassment to his sense of manhood. Simply use a mattress cover or some large towels on the bed. Remember how many times we've had menstrual blood on the sheets or worn a maxi-pad to bed? Be empathetic and considerate.
Touch him and touch him some more. His poor dick and balls have been pulled, prodded, and examined as well as cut and sewn back up again. To begin healing all the negativity that's been done to his poor sex organs, bring the touch of love and caring to the area. Start slowly and very gently. Scar tissue has formed which can pull on the underlying tissues, making it very taut and strained. Ask him to open up to a new array of bodily sensations and experimentation. Together, resolve to heal and transform your sex lives into something new and exciting.
If you both want to see if an erection is still possible, try using a vacuum device and/or cock rings. Both of these techniques help keep the penis engorged with blood. In my opinion, these methods (vacuum and rings) work better if pubic hair is short rather than long. Cock rings are less troublesome and vacuums have a better seal with less hair. It's a personal choice; hang onto the hair if you must, but at least, consider a good trim. I find that short pubic hair enables more sensation in the genital area and is nicer for oral sex for both men and women. Mike and I have erotic ‘barber sessions' where we trim each other's hair. We have fun while our sex organs are being groomed. It also builds up a sense of trust between us.
I use a beard trimmer with a blade guard on the razor that regulates the length of the hair cut and protects the skin. You may need to pull the skin taut around the balls and vaginal lips so it's easier to trim the hair. Try it on yourself first to get the hang of it, and I bet you'll enjoy the freedom of a buzz cut. It feels fresh and you'll have a better chance of seeing what you actually look like. Some people shave it all off and swear by it. However, I find it too irritating on my skin and I'm not fond of the stubble afterwards. Feel free to experiment; it is only hair that will grow back. We cut and groom hair everywhere else on our bodies, so why not there? And believe me, most doctors and gynecologists are used to seeing trimmed pubic areas, so they won't be shocked.
To see if a cock ring is worthwhile, use a piece of ribbon to tie up his cock and balls. I recommend a soft fabric like black satin or grosgrain about 15" long and ½" wide for your experiment. Begin with massage around the genitals and pull some blood into the cock by starting at the base and using long strokes to pull upwards towards the head. This takes a few minutes, so relax into it. Some eroticism is helpful, like visual imagery or some sexy pillow talk. Mike loves it when I lightly brush his genital area with my fingers. You can use a little talcum powder to make it smooth and sexy. I prefer using oils or other lubricants like K-Y Jelly after I tie up his cock, rather than before. This makes the process easier for me, unless I restrict the lubrication to the upper portion of his cock.
Once his cock gets a bit firmer, I take the ribbon and scoop it around his balls and cock and make a knot, similar to tying a pony tail. Then I cross the ribbon and tie the cock itself with another knot. Make sure the knot is tight enough, but not too tight. I had to do this a few times to get it right so don't get frustrated and give up. With a sly smile, I told Mike that I would have to have to play with his genitals even longer. We always had fun in the process. The ribbon can always be cut if you're not able to untie it, so have extra ribbon on hand. To cut it, first place your finger under the ribbon's knot to protect his skin from any accidents. I use a small manicure scissor. Some people use leather strips instead of ribbon. If you want to try this use soft suede-like leather. Avoid using leather shoe laces that are stiff and have sharp edges that can cut into the skin. Once the ribbon or leather gets wet, it is more difficult to untie, so keep that in mind.
If you choose to buy a commercial cock ring, take a look on the internet at all the different styles. They are also called penis rings and can be bought from any number of internet sites. Some cock rings look like rounded rubber bands and can slip over the cock itself or some slip over the balls as well. These can be a little difficult for first timers. Some rubber rings come with handles that are easier to get on and off the cock. Get a few different sizes to experiment with and remember that a smaller size is often better. Cock rings also come in leather or rubber with adjustable snaps which are simpler to use. Some also include a strap for the balls. Slip a part of your finger tip behind the strap as you put it on to avoid snapping his hair or skin when you use one. This provides something firm to snap against. The big advantage with snaps is the easy on-again/off-again that's helpful in the experimental stage. This process can take some getting used to, so don't get discouraged. The results will be well worth the effort.
We used the occasion to go on an erotic shopping spree at our local sex shop. These days, sex shops are friendlier and very woman-positive. Salespersons know the merchandise and can explain how to use whatever you buy. While you're there, be sure to take a long look-see at the electric vibrator and dildo section. These items offer a really nice sexual experience for women and it takes a lot of pressure off his performance. Involve him in the process of choosing and buying one of these wonderful toys for you. Now you can both open up to some new experiences. Chances are good that he'll like the vibrating sensation directly or indirectly as well. And we know how most guys love to watch their woman enjoying a vibrator in the bedroom.
Eventually we upgraded to a vacuum pump. It works by pulling blood into the penis and a cock ring keeps the blood in place. The vacuum is a simple device, but I think only the best ones are worth purchasing even though they can be expensive. We use the Osbon Erecaid System - the Esteem model that is featured on a few internet sites (see links below). We've used it for 5 years, with no broken parts.
This pump comes in a kit along with a manual, several rubber cock rings with handles in various sizes and a water based lubricant. There are three parts to the vacuum pump: a tube, a battery unit (with an on button and a release valve), and a device that allows the cock ring to easily slide onto the vacuum tube. Read the manufacturer's instructions for the vacuum pump you select; some also come with an instructional DVD. The kit looks a bit daunting at first, but is actually simple to use. If you think there are too many parts, remember the fist time you tried to use all the parts to a food processor!
The cock ring is placed on the vacuum cylinder first. The lubricated vacuum cylinder with cock ring is then placed over the penis, the pump is started, which removes air from the cylinder and causes the penis to become erect. The cock ring slides onto the base of the penis to maintain his erection and the cylinder is removed. Now, let the good times roll. Penetration may be different, perhaps not as rigid or as deep as when you were 20 years old, but the sex act itself can still be full of passion and fire. When finished, the cock ring with handles can be easily removed from the penis.
When I told Mike that I was writing this article, I asked him to share his own experiences with the vacuum. He is eager to get this information out to other men who may be facing similar sexual issues. We never use the word ‘impotent' to describe this life change, so you won't find it here.
"Using the vacuum pump, enlargement can take as little as two minutes but three or four minutes is probably closer to average. Talking about some fantasy or favorite sexual experiences definitely helps the process. I also enjoy when my woman watches the development and lightly brushes my genital area with her hands while the vacuum pump does its work. Placement of the cock ring after engorgement helps me during penetration. I find that I can pace myself better than before the prostate surgery, even when I slow down to draw out the experience.
As far as selection of a vacuum pump, good engineering and tight manufacturing tolerances are essential to optimal performance in any vacuum. There should be a release valve that is easily accessible in case the vacuum needs to be removed for any reason. If the vacuum is not seated properly, one of the balls can be drawn up into the vacuum, in which case a quick release of the vacuum will avoid any discomfort. It is advisable to keep the pubic hair short so the vacuum can form a good seal against the base of the penis.
A good kit will come with a water based personal lubricant, which can be easily replenished. Avoid oil based lubricants as they will damage the latex and rubber components. Apply the lubricant liberally to the cock, the inside of the tube portion of the pump that fits over the cock and the outside of the tube where the cock ring will be positioned. The cock ring is put into position with a device that inserts in the tube portion of the pump. This allows the cock ring to slide easily onto the tube, about ½" from the end. The cock ring then slides easily from the tube to the base of the penis after vacuum engorgement.
Place the tube over the cock and position it so it fits comfortably and tightly against the skin at the base of the cock. Battery vacuum pumps are activated by a switch. The man can start to feel the blood being drawn into the cock after a minute or two. If not, recheck placement of the tube and re-seat it so it forms a tight seal.
Having some kind of erotic interlude taking place while the vacuum does its job gives results that are generally better. Even if these assists do not produce the desired effects on some occasions, they make the whole experience more pleasant and will take the mind's eye away from the clock. Once the penis firms up, the cock ring is slid off the tube's end onto the base of the penis. The sensation of the cock ring is not bothersome, even if it is tight. If the man can keep his excitement at a measured pace, he can last longer than he could have in his teens. Allow some opportunity for humor and human error if the cock ring flies off the cock when the tube is removed. Simply laugh at this unexpected launch and try it again."
Mike and I hope this information helps others to keep an open heart and mind in their efforts to forge new sexual experiences. We change for many reasons and our sex lives need to change with us and change can be quite wonderful. I'm thrilled that Mike and I have evolved into this wonderful, trusting and erotic relationship that we now share. I'm sure this will work for you too. We wish you many sexual thrills and new found pleasures that are available to any couple with a sense of adventure.