This meditation on sexuality post-RP by Richard D. originally appeared in a PC group (reposted with permission). I thought it stood out from the crowd because it was thoughtful and interesting, especially to me as a woman. Think this might make some of the less emotional people here twitch. You know, the “men’s men” 🙂
Showed this to spouse, and he said he agreed with everything R. said. So I asked him, “Should I post this on the blog? He replied, “I don’t know. It’s true, but it might hurt some people to read it.” I’m not a man, and I find it hard to read, but I think it may help some people.
“Sex: What I Lost After RP”
We (men and women) always seem to find ourselves talking about erections in terms of what they can or can’t do. But 5 years ago, post RP, I found myself learning there was more to it than that. For my wife and me, losing erections meant the same upset in our relationship that everyone here is talking about.
But there was something else that I found myself missing. When I began to understand what was eating at me–more than just the changes in our sexual relationship–and could talk about it, it helped us both.
This is what I wrote back then:
I miss getting little signals & messages at random times during the day, getting bigger responses from riper thoughts & I miss the familiar easy sexual relationship with my wife. I miss waking up with an erection, I miss ejaculations fantasies, being able to read alone in bed and idly touching myself and getting a response. I miss masturbating. I miss all of it. There is a lot that
What is missing took a while to become clear to me: it feels like a relationship has died, and that, in fact, is exactly what has happened.
Boys learn pretty early on that a penis has a mind of its own. I have memories of being nervous as a kid, before a physical exam, that maybe ‘it’ would get hard when the doctor checked me. And there was knocking books off my desk to stall before standing up and having the lump in my pants revealed for all to laugh at. Or dancing & having HER notice it? Or making out on the couch and having to leave unexpectedly because there was this sudden (wonderful) puddle in my pants. (Only twice, much to my adolescent regret.) Or wet dreams? (Only 3. Damn! Even more regret.)
Of course, later on there were the opposite concerns, when I learned that IT doesn’t always do what I want it to do, or as much, or as often, or as well, or whatever.
Don’t you think it’s ironic — considering how the penis and erections are so often connected with male power, control, etc. — that a penis is the one part of a man’s body (and we learn this early on) that he has little control over. It hadn’t really occurred to me until after the surgery that I had an actual relationship with my penis, and a pretty intimate one at that.
When I began to understand all that I was mourning, my wife and I began to progress. She is smart, savvy, sympathetic, & supportive, yet I knew I wasn’t getting across what was going on–mostly because I didn’t understand it. At first I was only able to say to her that I was missing erections & our old sex. She did/does too. However, it wasn’t until it hit me that I was mourning the loss of a whole relationship, not just isolated erections, that we both began to appreciate the depth & complexity of our problem.
So now my wife has an idea of what I mean. She tries. She likened it a little to the sad part of her feelings about menopause–the lost of fertility and a significant part of being a woman–and that’s what we all do: we grope around trying to find parallels to help us feel another’s pain, but, of course, we end by only understanding it better with our minds. A man who is potent can only try to imagine how losing that ‘relationship’ would affect him, but I will bet that almost any man will know instantly what I mean as I talk about the relationship itself.
Back to today:
It’s grimly ironic that prostate cancer often tends to hit when a man, and his partner, are already dealing with the changes that come with aging. There is so much to say good-bye to. But I think that that “relationship” that I was talking about back then is independent of age, and the loss of it is, whether temporary, partial or permanent, is brutal.
Enough for now. As you all know, once you start there is a lot to say.