Supporting A Partner With Prostate Cancer
The cancer process is not a solo flight. Families and friends are affected by watching you go through treatment and recovery. Your partner is often just as worried and concerned about prostate cancer as you are. They might fear losing you, feel sad about disruptions in normal daily activities, be upset by changes in your relationship, and may fear hurting you during sex. Studies have shown that partners cope better when involved in the decision making process along the course of prostate cancer treatment. Men who feel their partners are emotionally involved along the way feel more supported and less distressed. This leads to better adjustment after recovery and therefore, better sexual relations.
You might be very focused on the return of erections following treatment. It is important to discuss your feelings and anxieties regarding sex early in the recovery process to create more openness and honesty between yourself and your partner. Waiting until just prior to the first sexual encounter may be a set-up for unmet expectations, disappointments, and problems down-the-road.
The first time you have sex is very important for a healthy long-term adjustment, less emotional distress for both partners, and improved relationship satisfaction. Talk about your sexual relations prior to engaging in sex and plan to make it a good experience.
It is important for your partner to be aware of her initial reaction during sex, particularly the first time. She should not deny her own feelings, but her overall emotion of caring should be expressed to you. Her role at this point is to provide love and support.
Partners, your willingness to initiate sex will go a long way in reassuring your partner of his sex appeal and your devotion. It’s the caring that counts!
Of course, your personal relationship prior to a diagnosis of prostate cancer helps determine the quality of your interactions afterward. If there were problems in the relationship, those might become magnified during the stress of cancer recovery. If not involved in a relationship prior to prostate cancer, you might feel challenged to explain changes as a result of treatments, and what is needed from an intimate relationship.
If you didn’t have frequent sex prior to prostate cancer, you might fall back into the same pattern after your diagnosis and treatment. In order to have less erectile dysfunction (ED) after treatment, it is important to work on stimulation and erections frequently. If it’s important to you to have the strongest erections you can, either engage your partner in sex or consider masturbation as an option.