Ask Amy … to Get a Woman’s Point of View

Sometimes even men can benefit from a female point of view on what appear, at first sight, to be exclusively male health issues.

ask-amy-sm.jpgAmy is the wife of a long-time prostate cancer patient who has agreed to offer her experience in whatever way she may be able to help. In particular, we believe she will be able to give suggestions and guidance to the wives, partners, mother, sisters, daughters, nieces, and female friends of prostate cancer patients as those patients go through the difficult processes of diagnosis and treatment for a disease that is emotionally unsettling for most men.

Please understand that Amy is not a physician. She is “just” a well educated laywoman with very personal experience of prostate cancer and its problems. She cannot provide you with medical advice. You should always talk to your doctor about your clinical condition and how it should be managed.

You may post your question for Amy using the comments / reply box below. Questions and answers are retained on this page for approximately 60-90 days from the time they are originally posted.

89 Responses

  1. Hi Amy.

    Well, my husband is still with us — sort of. His latest diagnosis (as if Stage IV metastatic prostate cancer isn’t enough) is Lewy body dementia. Wow — adding insult to injury in some respects.

    However, that being said — maybe it’s a blessing because he doesn’t really know / remember what is happening to his body. He had the last chemo in March of 2017 and he will never have it again, according to the doctors. There is nothing out there that can be tried on him at this point and, since he now has been diagnosed with Lewy body dementia — it merely complicates the possibility of any trial studies that might have been effective.

    We have Home Health / Hospice / Social Worker coming in now — to see if we can now get palliative care for him and to make sure I am doing OK.

    I had to retire in August due to his not wanting me to leave him to go to work. My sister had moved in with us — he would not have been alone, but he didn’t want me to leave him — I cried all the way to work and called in retired after my shift was over. Praise God!

    I told him that I retired when I got home and that I still had paperwork to do to process out, but that after that — all was good and I would be with him 24/7/365. Seemed to make him happy.

    The doctors are not ordering scans any more because there is not much they can do at this point — no matter where it’s spread or how much more it’s spread. His PSA has risen another 10 points in a month — kind of sad — and he’s starting to have some pain in his left upper thigh down to his foot — sad there as well. He doesn’t want to take pain medication so I give him Aleve or Tylenol (not at the same time or even on the same day). Eases the pain somewhat and Physical Therapy is coming in to help with that as well.

    Good news is that he is still able to walk a little — slowly — but since I had him taken off one medication his walk is getting a little better and he is able to be awake more, but his memory is messed up still. Some days — most days — he has no idea that I am his wife and that makes me sad as well. Still, I figure I can do the remembering for him along with our children and the grand-loves. We talk to him and show him pictures and talk about old times with him and it seems to bring him back to reality for a little while anyway.

    Guys: Please — do get your check ups. Prostate Cancer is totally curable if found early enough –

    Wives / Partners: Encourage and drag your man in for a yearly check up. A lot of the frustration I have read about in some of the posts could be avoided with a little prevention. Perhaps “prevention” isn’t the correct word. There is no “preventing” cancer — but if caught early enough, most of the things I’ve read, don’t have to happen. If caught early enough, prostate cancer is curable.

    I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty — my husband had no symptoms or such vague symptoms that we were not really aware of — nothing that would lead anyone to think anything was amiss — until October 26, 2012 when he could not urinate at all. That’s when my husband’s journey began with this mean disease.

    My goal of posting now is just to ask you men to get your check-ups! (Wives / partners — you may have to drag them to a doctor to get this done.)

    While there is little that can be done to help my precious husband — if even one person is spared all he has gone through and what he will go through without a miracle — this post will be worth it.

    As my husband continues through this journey, I will be right here with him through every appointment — through the good and the bad, till death do we part. (BTW: My husband is what everyone would call a model patient. He’s calm, collected, and has not allowed this to drag him down. Praise God – I give all the glory to God for that.)

    God bless each and everyone of you. Ladies — my thoughts and prayers are with you all — caretakers of the world unite. Toughest job we have to deal with, but all I can really add is, “All it takes is for my husband to smile at me and say thank you for me to know that he is appreciative and just makes me want to help him even more”. I will love him forever … 39 years of marriage and counting. …


    Amy replied:

    Hi Ellen.

    I don’t think there is anything that I can usefully add to that!


  2. My husband has had his prostate removed. It’s been 3 years now. He has no sex drive and cannot get an erection. He has for the past 22 years secretly (until caught) looked at porn. I recently found evidence that he still looks at porn. I’m hurt by this. We have not had sex in 3 years. He’s not interested in trying to please me by oral sex or toys. He has the injections he could use but doesn’t seem interested. My question is, if he can’t get a hard on, what is he getting from still looking at porn? I just don’t understand. We are just now in our 50s.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Sherri:

    For many men, the idea of being able to procreate is the absolutely driving and dominant force in their lives, and it is something they have limited control over. We are, after all, “just another animal”. Look at the way stags behave during the rutting season. They have just one thing on their minds, and anything that gets in the way is taking his/its life in his/its hands!

    Many human males live in a constant state of confusion between this biological priority and the (comparatively recent) social priority of monogamy. Some can deal with this easily. Others can’t. Arguably, male use of pornography is a way to help some men balance the two conflicting priorities. Many women — unsurprisingly — have a hard time understanding this.

    Your husband has had a third problem added to this mix. He can no longer “function appropriately” as a male. He has lost his ability to get and maintain an erection, and this means he not only feels emasculated. He also feels as though he has no status as a male among other males (let alone among women). For some men, this is devastating.

    Now your husband’s failure to “please” you is probably a consequence of the issues just described in combination with a lack of imagination and a profound degree of embarrassment. Being able to look at pornography may — in his mind — be his only way to pretend to himself that he is “still a man”. His imagination can still work in this area even if his body can’t.

    Please understand that I am not trying to absolve him of what I would like to think he would see as his responsibility to find ways to change how he thinks and behaves and to recognize that he isn’t the only one who is in need of missing sexual gratification. What I know is that, unfortunately, there are a lot of men who just don’t seem to be able to make this transition. They just don’t seem to “have the necessary wiring” in their brains.

    The only way real I know of that can help men like this to overcome their problem is through professional counseling. And sadly all too many such men absolutely reject the idea that they need such help — because it requires them to admit that they need the help in the first place. Catch 22!

    I have laughingly (and laughably) told people in the past that if I could find a way to resolve this particular problem I would be a deserving candidate for a Nobel Prize (for Marital Peace). But the problem is not funny at all. Overcoming it is all about communication between the couple. And that communication means you putting aside the anger about him looking at porn and him putting aside his sense that he is “no longer a man” and deciding to do something about it.

    One thing that I do know has worked for some couples is when the man gets a penile implant. It can give him back his sense of confidence in being able to “perform” as a male, and (I hear) it can give the woman back her sense of physical pleasure. However, it probably doesn’t work for everyone, and any man who wants to consider getting an implant would be wise to have this done by someone who specializes in this particular forms of surgery.


  3. My husband had prostate cancer 5 years ago. He had the surgery and radiation. He has not touched me since. He got me to get stuff from the compounding pharmacy, but he won’t use it. He asked how I would feel if I had to put a needle in my privates. I am thinking of leaving. Please help.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Karen:

    I’m sorry to hear about your and your husband’s problems.

    The impact of diagnosis of and treatment for prostate cancer is well understood to be completely traumatic for many men. I addressed many of the reasons for this a few days ago in answer to a question about another, similar, situation. You might want to look at that question and my answer.

    I am assuming that the product you got for your husband from the compounding pharmacy was what is known as Trimix. It is administered by injection into the penis prior to sex, and it can work very well for some men. However, I can also tell you that for other men the whole idea is simply impossible to deal with, and the only thing I could possible compare it to would be you having to give yourself an injection of something into your clitoris each and every time prior to having sex. In all honesty, I’m not sure how well I could deal with that, so I do understand your husband’s question.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I also absolutely do understand your anger and frustration. But the only solutions that I know of for this problem are communication between you and your husband and (perhaps) a penile implant (as described in the prior answer above).

    If you and your husband have reached the point at which you can barely talk to each other at all about all this, then I suggest you both need some professional counseling … but I also have to tell you that there are no “easy fixes” for this particular problem.

    I don’t know if this will help, but you do need to be able to see this from your husband’s perspective … even if he appears to be being unsympathetic to you. He has been devastated by his inability to “perform” normally as a man.


  4. Amy,

    My question is I have met a guy I really care about and have a great deal of feelings for. He is going through a divorce, and I just found out not long ago that he has had prostate cancer and is afraid to get involved with me. His words are, “You wouldn’t understand.”

    I’ve assured him I’m not going anywhere and that it’s not all about sex. He also has a bad tendency of shutting down. He will get really depressed and angry. Is there anything I can do to help him? I really care a lot about this guy and I enjoy what time we spend together. I also don’t want to scare him off with texting and calling him all the time to make sure he is OK, because when he gets depressed and angry I worry a lot about him.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Amy:

    I think that the first thing you need to appreciate is that he really almost certainly is depressed and angry. And he may be depressed and angry for a long time.

    He has been traumatized. He has lost a key physiological capability that was a big part of what made him a man. And to some extent he is right. No woman will ever really understand what that means to some men, just as no man will ever understand the emotional response that most women have to giving birth. So …

    If you really feel strongly about the gentleman in question, you are going to need to be very, very patient, and very, very gentle. Don’t bring up his issues at all. Only call him when you have something very specific that you’d like him to do for you, e.g., when you are going to a dinner or a party and you want someone as an “escort” or when you’d just like a companion to go with you to a movie or similar. Treat him as a friend and let him “make the running” when he is ready to do so.

    But equally you need to be aware that some men never get over this problem.

    Arthur and I (that’s the Arthur who also answers questions on this web site) have discussed this whole issue many times over the years. Arthur never got depressed about the biological changes that happened in his case, but he has always told me that he can easily see why it happens to a lot of men, but explaining it is almost impossible. The impact is so deeply embedded in what it means, biologically, to “be a male”. He tells me that there is really nothing rational or logical about it. It’s just something that happens to some men, and — for such men — recovering their sense of self worth and masculinity can just take time.

    Hope this helps a little.


  5. Hi I’ve been going with my partner for 1 year. He has metastatic prostate cancer. He acts like everything is fine, which is good because he is getting on with his life. This includes relationship arguments which I’m sure is elevated because of his illness and stress from both of us.

    My issue is he demands my time constantly and I have been tugged between my daughter and him for my time. I have asked for time to myself but he doesn’t understand and gets upset. How do I deal with this or do I just try and keep my self as healthy as possible and try not to stress. It is sometimes hard to tell if he is jealous or just scared to be in his own. Any suggestions?


    Amy replied:

    Dear Therese:

    It really doesn’t matter whether he is being jealous or is scared to be on his own. If you don’t get “down time” to do the other things that you want and need to do, his constant demands for attention will just wear you out.

    This sounds like one of those situations when, if he was a 9-year-old, you would simply say that, “Mommy has to go out for an hour and you will need to be a big boy and look after yourself for a little while. There’s a peanut butter sandwich in the fridge if you get hungry.”

    Your partner “understands” just fine. He is simply being unrealistic, and you need to be polite and firm. A healthy relationship is one in which both parties agree to cooperate about some things and give the other party space and time to do other things on their own or with other parties (e.g., your daughter). Every time that you give in to his demands for constant attention is one more time that you reinforce his sense of entitlement.

    I understand that it can be difficult to negotiate these issues, but it is a necessary aspect of a healthy relationship. He needs to value your needs as much as he seems value his own.

    This probably isn’t particularly helpful. Unfortunately, however, it is a fact of life! :O)


  6. Hi Amy, when I married my second husband he was 45 and I was 47. He had gone through chemotherapy for prostate precancerous cells and was given a clean bill of health. This was a few years before I had met him and we had no problem at all with intimacy.

    After 2 years he completely lost interest in intimacy, blaming it on his prostate. It has now been 9 years and he has not even wanted to try all the different meds there are for men. I just do not understand that for 2 years, with a clean bill of health, he was fine. I hate to admit this but I have found evidence contrary to what he has told me. It’s not another woman that I’m worried about; it’s if it’s a man, which makes me feel even worse. I honestly don’t know if I can live the rest of my life with not having intimacy or constantly wondering if he’s bi, gay, or whatever. I’ve asked him but he totally denies it and says he loves me. Now his best friend who is 10 years younger and his boss has been governing him real trendy clothes and they talk on the phone all the time. So, if you do gain back everything can it go away like he says or am I basically being a total fool?


    Amy replied:

    Dear Demi:

    I don’t think this is a situation that I am going to be able to give you much help with.

    However, for what little it is worth … I don’t think you are “being a total fool.” If anyone is doing that, it would seem to be your husband, because apparently he is unable or unwilling to explain to you what is going on in his head (quite apart from whatever may be going on in/with his genitalia).

    It doen’t sound to me as though your husband has a biological problem at all, but he may well have a psychological one if he is unable to give you a meaningful explanation for what is going on. If there is really a problem with his prostate, then why hasn’t he seen a physician about it? And if he has been seeing a physician about it, why hasn’t he been taking you with him to see that physician?

    Now I will also tell you that I don’t understand what you (or he) mean when you say that before he was married to you he had “gone through chemotherapy for prostate precancerous cells”. There is no such chemotherapy that I am aware of (or that Arthur is aware of either; I asked him). A man can have treatment for what is known as “benign prostatic hyperplasia” or BPH, but that isn’t precancerous or cancerous at all. So I have no idea what your husband was being treated for, and I have no reason to believe that whatever he had was actually any form of risk for prostate cancer.


  7. I am sorry if this offends you but I need an answer.

    My husband had a biopsy. Looks like cancer. We are married 38 years. We have experienced lots of playtime and techniques as we have gotten older that help us to continue our happiness intimately. But now I am reading about throat cancer and blow jobs. … Can I get cancer from him?

    I am not foolish I understand you cannot give me a definite yes or no. We have not been with anyone else other than each other. Sometimes he gets a burning feeling since the biopsy from blow job ejaculation but not from vaginal ejaculation. Thus us why I am concerned. Please advise.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Any:

    Don’t worry. I’m not offended. You are far from the first spouse or partner or prostate cancer patient to ask about this.

    As far as anyone knows, it would be biologically impossible for you to “catch” prostate cancer from your husband as a consequence of oral sex. Similarly, it would be biologically impossible for your husband to catch vaginal or ovarian cancer from you if you had one of those forms of cancer and he was practicing oral sex on you.

    Female biology and male biology are very different and most cancers aren’t “communicable” in the first place. The only exceptions (as far as anyone knows) are the forms of cancer that are clearly known to be associated with viral disorders such as the HPV virus that can and does cause cervical cancer.

    I don’t think the burning sensation your husband is currently feeling after ejaculation when you have oral sex has anything to do with the cancer itself. It may have more to do with the strength of the ejaculation and some small — and probably temporary — changes to his prostate as a consequence of the relatively recent biopsy.

    Hope that helps


  8. Amy:

    My husband just had an inflatable penile implant done three and a half weeks ago and my question is this: his penis and scrotum is very different in that you can feel the implant. … It doesn’t feel like his penis but like a penis with tubes and same with the scrotum. … Is this normal? He’s going to see his urologist on Thursday (4 days) but I wanted to see if this weird feeling is always going to feel like that or what?

    We’ve been married almost 48 years and he’s tried everything before this so it was both of our decisions. … I hope it was the right one. … We haven’t been able to have regular intercourse for many years. … I would appreciate your input and thoughts on this matter. … Thank you.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Kathy:

    I have no personal experience to go on with this question … and this isn’t exactly a cocktail party conversation one has with people. However, …

    I do think that his penis and his testicles are going to feel different. After all, they do indeed now have various bits of technical stuff implanted in them. Also, based on the “use it or lose it” paradigm, his penis probably became smaller over the past few years, and it may take time for his body to adapt to the implants. So, …

    I think the really important thing is for you both to take all of this slowly. You are both “out of practice” so to speak. I suspect that you are going to be able to adapt to the changes if you take it slowly and don’t expect everything to be exactly the same as it was 5 or 10 years ago (let alone when you were both in your 20s!).

    You are going to both need to be able to laugh about “re-learning” to have sex in a new way. If you take it too seriously and make it too important, then you may not be able to take advantage of the opportunity you have both been looking for. You are both going to need to find ways to believe that you really have taken the right decision, but that it’s rather like learning to be a snowboarder after years of being a skier. Some tings are the same … but some things are going to be distinctly different.

    Be patient with each other … be willing to experiment … the fact that there are different feelings for you (and for him) as a consequence of the implant may turn out to have benefits once you have adapted to the idea, after all!


  9. Is it safe to give a man oral sex after he’s had prostate surgery? And it’s been removed! He’s in remission now.


    Amy replied:

    So long as that’s the only problem he has, then — as far as I know — yes. Prostate cancer isn’t a sexually transmissible disease. (See also my answer to this related question.)


  10. I’m in a long-term relationship with someone who has been diagnosed. Can I continue to give him oral sex. TY.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Jane:

    Sure you can. If you want to and if he wants you to! Prostate cancer is not a communicable disease, and your biology wouldn’t allow you to have prostate cancer anyway.


  11. My husband was diagnosed in 2015, 2 years after we were married. After his surgery he was fired from his job. He’s older (in his 50s) so this led to difficulties finding a job. He then became depressed because of that and due to that fact he was unable to get an erection.

    Our sex life prior was good, that is when he wasn’t constantly watching porn. The porn took a lot of the intimacy away. Well now 3 years later and still no erection, he still watches the porn but says it’s because he’s trying to get ready for me. :).

    I feel like he’s being selfish. I’m waiting patiently, but he can’t put the porn down long enough to even try to get a “hard on” naturally! With me! I find myself wanting to have sex with an old boyfriend just to relieve myself, but I know it would only cause problems. Help!!


    Amy replied:

    Dear Debra:

    I’m so sorry it has taken me two months to get back to you. Somehow I just “missed” your message and the sitemaster just brought it to my attention.

    I’m not exactly sure how anyone can really “help” with this situation. Your husband is being a typically male ass, and what he needs is a male acquaintance to tell him this … bluntly! However, I can see that that presents all sorts of possible problems.

    I am also not so sure that your strategy of “waiting patiently” is still viable. Your husband’s use of pornography as a “displacement activity” is really a method for him to avoid the reality of how to re-think what your sex life may need to become together. He’s probably terrified of actually dealing with this, and the best way to deal with that would be to drag him to see a sexual counselor or therapist, but getting him to do that could also be a struggle.

    The one thing that I am very sure about is that letting things go on as they are is going to get neither of you to anywhere near the necessary goal for all concerned … which is going to have to start with an honest conversation about what that goal needs to be!


  12. What precautionary measures do you take for yourself when performing oral sex on your partner?


    Amy replied:

    Dear GGC:

    Well … I no longer have the opportunity to perform any form of sexual activity with my former husband since he died of his cancer some year ago. (There was no way you would have to have known this.) However, if you are referring to avoidance of any risk that I might “catch” my husband’s cancer as a consequence of oral sex, this is not actually a possibility. Or perhaps what I should say is that no one has ever identified a single case of prostate cancer being transmitted from one patient to another through oral sex.

    So, the only form of “precautionary measure” that I ever took was to make it very clear to my husband in my usual charming way that, if I ever found out he had been fooling around with someone else, he would be in deep doodoo at a depth that would make him distinctly unhappy!

    If you are really concerned about needing to take some form of “precautionary measure”, then the simplest one is to put a condom on for him. That will be a precaution against all sorts of things that are much more likely to be problematic than a risk for “catching” his cancer. One of the more common such risks is that men who have had surgery can leak urine when they have an orgasm … and that can be a distinct “turn off” (or so I am told).


  13. Dear Amy:

    This will be my last post in here — my husband of 40+ years passed away a little more than a week ago from Stage IV metastatic prostate cancer.

    My hope is that all wives/partners will realize that this is a devastating disease for men. Everything they knew about intimate relationships changes — the rules change with a diagnosis such as my husband had.

    I believe it is important to talk about what loving someone is all about — for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, til death do you part. … For me, when I took those vows, I meant them — and I loved my husband so very much and still do — I respected him and he respected me — And I knew that if the situation were reversed, he would have been my primary caretaker too — We would have worked together, as we did with his disease and the prognosis.

    I am in no way trying to upset or shame anyone who is more concerned with the intimacy part than the person who is battling something so horribly devastating, but for me, sex was the last thing I was concerned with after receiving that diagnosis — We held hands — We took short walks together hand in hand — We kissed — We talked a lot — I wanted my husband to be healed so we could celebrate our 50th anniversary together. I wanted my husband and I to be able to dance together longer — It breaks my heart that he is gone, but I am thankful he went peacefully with me and our two children at his bedside.

    This is a life-changing disease, and it may take the men a while to absorb the impact. It will take the wives/partners a while to absorb the impact that this disease will have on both of their lives.

    Again, for me, losing intimacy was never important to me after we got that diagnosis — Stage IV metastatic prostate cancer — The issue for me was getting him the best treatment available to keep him as healthy as possible and let him know that he was worth my time — my love — my being at his side, to love him through it … til the very end.

    God bless each and every one of you! I am praying that the issues that are important to you are resolved in a positive way.


    Amy replied:

    Thank you Ellen … and I am so sorry to hear of your loss …


  14. I commend you Ellen for your awesome stand that you took during this devastating time of your life. You will be rewarded for your actions. Stay blessed.

  15. Hi Ellen, your post reveals you have the goodness in a woman I have sorely missed all my life, so may your recover, and live on and with a fine memory of a good man. I am 71, and faced with a battle without partner or children, yet I find wonderment in each day of life I have.

    All the very best regards,

    Patrick Turner

  16. Thank you. One day at a time. God Speed! God bless you all.

  17. Hi Ellen.

    What a great post and perspective on love, and a tough journey. I am convinced that all women and caregivers handle this differently. It’s a ray of light to hear your husband’s, and your story. I also took care of my husband and his metastatic prostate cancer — for 13 years. Unique journey of extreme ups, and extreme downs. But I never gave up because I needed to know, in the depths of my heart, that I did everything humanly possible to help him.

    God bless.

  18. Patrick,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Enjoy your life to the fullest extent! Thank you for your kindness. Thank you too, Jan and Amy. Bless you all! Praying for all involved in battling prostate cancer and the caregivers and partners. It isn’t a “patient” only disease … but a “family” thing. God Speed!

  19. Hi Amy:

    My husband had his prostate removed 6 years ago. We have tried pills, vacuum pumps, and injections, but all to no avail.

    We also brought the pump that you use in the shower, but the worst of it is it’s just been sitting here only. We tried it once 6 years ago. It’s like he has lost interest and I am avoiding it all because I feel it’s going to be just like the rest a disappointment.

    Not sure what to do


    Dear Cherie:

    When one tries all sorts of ways to recover something one has lost, and one suffers a constant stream of failures to achieve the desired outcome, it is hardly surprising if one stops trying. This seems to be what has happened to you and your husband. And I am sorry that you have both had to go through this — both together and (in a sense) separately.

    So, what to do …?

    Perhaps it is time to take an entirely different approach, which is to rethink the nature of your and your husband’s relationship. Apparently you have, to a significant extent, maybe lost the sparks that brought you together in the first place. In which case you either need to re-find them or you need to find some new sparks. To roll out a tired old phrase, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” But you and your husband aren’t insane, you have simply run out of ideas to get yourselves charged up and willing to take risks.

    You need to turn yourself back into someone your husband really wants to “date”. So, what are you going to make him do with you that would be really fun? Things that will make you laugh together and hug each other with excitement, and make each of think, “NOW I remember why I married this man/woman. And if that all leads to sex, what risks are you both willing to take to make each other feel happy? Even if it involves things you have never done together before?

    And what can you drag him off to do that you know he has always wanted to do? Can you make him go skydiving with you?

    My point is that the “routine” of failure to have successful traditional intercourse is based on the delusion that successful, traditional intercourse should be the goal. I would respectfully suggest to you that, before you get there, you may need to get back to the sheer pleasure of being in each other’s company and doing things together you have never done before.

    And then … if you both really still need the whole “penetration” thing too, there are some really good types of penile implant available that some couples absolutely swear by … but they aren’t for everyone and if you go down that path make sure it is done by a surgeon who is really skilled at this.

    Hope this helps … if only a little …


  20. Ellen,

    Thank you so much for your post. It is exactly what I needed. I love my husband of 30 years more than I can say, but have been feeling somewhat selfish regarding what our wonderful sex life is like now. I needed to see your post today so that I can pick myself up and focus on the love of my life and the father of our two kids … and I saw it just in the nick of time.


  21. I am so thankful that my post has given you what you needed today. God is never too late. It makes my heart happy to read your post. I am praying for both you and your husband and your two children as well. Tough road ahead, but I wouldn’t have missed holding hands, the walks, the talks with my husband — for anything in the world. Prayers and hugs for all of you! You are a gem! GOD BLESS YOU all!

  22. Amy,

    I have been recovering from having my prostate removed due to cancer. Before the surgery I really did not have any urge to have sex with women. I lost my wife 5 years ago due to cancer and I just kept busy by taking care of our home and also my wife’s grave. I am doing well in my recovery but cannot understand why I have these sexual desires? Is this a normal feeling that I should have?

    Thank you for your time



    Amy replied:

    Dear Steve:

    The human body is a strange thing, and sometimes difficult to explain.

    As a woman, I am aware that men’s interest in sexual intercourse is driven by biological factors that can often (but not always) be rather different to those of women.

    Your prior disinterest in sex, after the death of your wife, may well have been a part of the grieving process, but it may also be that biological and endocrine changes induced by your surgery have led to re-stimulation of your testosterone levels, and that this has led to a renewed interest in sex.

    Can I tell you this for sure? No, I can’t. Do I know if this is “normal”? No, I don’t. Do I think you should be in any way concerned about this? No, I honestly don’t. And if you were to ask me if I thought this was in any way a “betrayal” of your prior feelings for and relationship with your wife, my answer would be, “No, I don’t.”

    I think this is just human biology doing what it does, and it can vary vastly from person to person.

    The degree to which you may feel you want to act on this set of feelings by seeking a willing partner is a whole different question that you are going to have to work out for yourself, however.

    Hope this is helpful … if not very informative


  23. Hi Amy.

    I am at a loss for help with this issue. I am dating a man 7 years post-surgery. He is 69 and totally turns me on. I am 59. He did the injection once and I enjoyed it but I do not need it. My libido is healthy because he rocks my boat. But when he said he wants to do the injection I have said no because I do not need the erection because we do other things that cause me to orgasm. But am I wrong in saying please do not? Is his pleasure more stimulating after an injection? We are just dating and I am crazy about him but do not want to be harming his manhood unknowingly by asking him not to I inject because I do not need that. I just think ouch when I hear injection. Thank you!


    Amy replied:

    Dear Jennifer:

    Obviously I have no real idea why the gentleman in question feels the need to “boost” his capabilities by using penile injections … but I can guess.

    My suspicion is that this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with his own beliefs in his masculinity, and that actually, by telling him you don’t need him to do the injections, you may be limiting his ability to feel the same sense of arousal as you say you feel. On a purely anatomical level, of course, this makes no sense whatsoever, but on a psychological level, I can entirely see why actually being able to have a functional erection could make a man feel more “male” and therefore more “worthy” of your interest.

    Men’s psychosexual mindsets and behaviors are (unsurprisingly) very different to those of women. And I think you may need to be open to letting your “beau” take the lead on this one. Stop thinking about the “ouch” on his behalf (after all, it’s not like you have to do anything) and let him decide about that. Although maybe the trick is to tell him that you can’t watch while he is injecting himself and maybe he could do that in the bathroom or you could tell him you’ll be “up in 5 minutes”.


  24. Hi Amy,

    My husband had just had his prostate removed due to cancer. It has been 6 weeks now.

    I just need advice on how to be patient with him as he knows that I want sex but I don’t want to pressure him.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Helen:

    Let me be very straightforward with you.

    The very fact that your husband “knows that you want sex” is already pressuring him. That is not going to go away — either for him or for you. The question that you are both going to need to work your way through is what “have sex” means for you both over the next few weeks and months. If it means “be intimate and have an orgasm”, that can be accomplished in many ways other than the missionary position, and you and your husband are probably going to need to do some exploration of what is going to “work” for you both.

    It is impossible to know how soon your husband will be able to recover a level of erectile function that will allow “traditional” penetrative intercourse to work well for either of you — but it will certainly take time, and it could take quite a long time. So — in the interim you are both going to need to “think outside of the box” about what you are willing to try.

    There are many things that can be done to help your husband recover a practical level of good erectile function — from little blue pills (i.e., Viagra or Cialis), to intrapenile injections, and right up to penile implants, but what is going to be more important than anything else is going to be how you communicate about all of this and whether you are able to try things that you may never have tried before.

    Obviously, I understand what you mean when you say that you don’t want to pressure your husband, but at the other end of the scale, he needs to appreciate that you have the same levels of biological interest in sex and ability to enjoy it as your did 6 months ago. He, on the other hand, may have a very high level of concern and insecurity about whether he is ever going to recover anything like the level of sexual ability that he had 6 months ago. He may well feel “emasculated” by his surgery, and you need to find a way to be honest and straightforward with each other about what is going on.

    This is not easy — particularly since many couples never actually talk about their sex lives at all. They just “do it” and have, over the years, established a routine (or an “unroutine”) that works for them both. So when they need to actually say to each other, “Would you like to try X or Y since Z doesn’t work at the minute”, it can be very hard to have those conversations.

    I am quite sure that this was not the answer you were looking for. Unfortunately it is the only good answer that I can offer. If you have a wise husband, he also needs to go find a urologist (often actually an andrologist, who is a urologist who specializes in things like male sexual function) who can help him with what is known as “penile rehabilitation” after his surgery.

    Oh … and one other thing. Your husband needs to get a message (well actually, probably lots of messages) from you that you still see him as “your man” and your friend and your lover. So, make him take you out on dates. Make him feel special and irreplaceable. Tell him you love him. And help him to fall in love with you all over again. He needs the ego boost!

    Hope this helps a little.


  25. Dear Amy,

    I am not the woman I was when my husband married me 30 years ago. I am finding it very hard when people say that it is great that the operation was a success.

    I am grieving the loss of intimacy and the fact that my husband will not go down the road of thinking outside the box. I am getting depressed and angry about this. I can’t stop crying at times.



    Dear Helen:

    You have all of my sympathy. I hear you. However much we may not want it to be the case, almost no man ever recovers full erectile and sexual potency after surgery for prostate cancer, and few of them (and few of their spouses and partners) are really willing to talk openly about the impact of the loss of intimacy (and sheer physical pleasure) over time.

    For many years almost no one talked about this, and sociocultural factors make all of this very difficult to address. A lot of people want to “blame the surgeon” for all of this, but it isn’t that simple.

    I don’t have any brilliant suggestions to offer you. I wish that I did. And I am so sorry that I don’t.

    Some women — and some couples — can gain help from counseling … but all too often the male patient is so traumatized by the loss of his “normal” (whatever that means) sexual capabilities that he just goes into complete denial.

    The one thing that I know is that the ability of the two partners to be able to talk to each other about the situation, and to decide what to do together, is at the heart of being able to “come out the other side” with a satisfactory solution.

    Somehow I think you were hoping I might be able to offer you more …


  26. I’m a 9-year cancer survivor who had a racial prostatectomy. First, I’d like to say to Helen, “Hang in there with your husband.”

    Prostate cancer is a awful thing for a man to hear about from his doctor. The impact that it has on a man is devastating. So, now he’s feeling less than a man, and ashamed of his condition. It is and always will be a hard topic to discuss. Talk with him and let him know your desires and always encourage him. I went into a state of depression for a while but joining a support group really helped me. Let him know he’s not alone. If you like to respond to me directly please do so, I only want to help.

    I’ve been there where he is now. God bless both of you.

  27. My husband will be getting a bone scan this week and I will be discussing sexual issues before we even meet with the doctor to discuss results. I feel this will be easier now as he is more apt to talk not knowing prognosis, etc.

    Some of the advice here seems very sympathetic toward men looking at porn and shutting down completely without ever wanting help. I will be letting my husband know that these are not options for a continued relationship and to stay together for the family’s sake may be too much for one to handle especially when anger is allowed to reign. Maybe I have a low tolerance for dependency but when a man willingly sucks energy from a spouse without trying counseling it speaks volumes about the viability for a meaningful and successful relationship — as well as the previous strength of the partnership to begin with.

    If he will not hear me out given adequate time and compassion to work through issues perhaps it will be better for both of us in the long run to face our fears with someone else. I am not trying to be callous but many women here are suffering because of egos that are tougher than diamonds. I look forward to our talk before the scan or knowledge of the prognosis. Women seek out help now! Actually we can still care for our spouses but seek intimacy elsewhere if they refuse to meet us 50/50.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Bryan:

    Each man, each woman, and each couple is going to approach this issue in a slightly different way depending on all sorts of things — most especially the precise nature of the relationship between the two partners.

    What you seem to have read as “sympathy” for certain male behaviors would (in my humble opinion) be more accurately read as “understanding of” those behaviors rather than sympathy. It is perfectly reasonable to appreciate that things happen without endorsing them in any way.

    You undoubtedly will approach this situation in the way you describe. Depending on the nature of your relationship with your partner, this may be a very appropriate mechanism of action. Other couples with other interpersonal dynamics might not agree with you, however. There is more than one way to skin an onion.


  28. I wish I saw this sooner. I don’t have a question. My dad died in summer of 2018. I was there every day for him … ‘n he was not all there. He was an amazing man.

    Anyways my dad never wanted to get married. He always told all of us four children that he wouldn’t ever do it again. He said if he wanted to marry he would have already. So the day he fell ‘n went into the hospital, … this chick he met (bar rat) was talking about marriage that same night. Me and my brothers and sister told her to please not right now. We want him to be “all there”. So he has proper consent.

    She told us the night before she married him that she was doing it in the morning without us. My daddy couldn’t even get up on his wedding day. His side of the family, he really doesn’t talk to that much. They are all naive. ‘N they keep the peace so to say …. He died … ‘n she took everything. ‘N on top of it, after he died, she had a benefit to make extra money even tho’ all his doctor bills were paid for which I have proof of ‘cuz I was on his coverage.

    I haven’t been able to live peacefully knowing this. I had to watch my dad’s last breath at 25 years old …. He barely even knew me on my birthday. … ‘N then she took everything. Every memory. Every piece of clothing. Everything. Her mom worked for a huge, well-known hospital for years … ‘n she knew someone who didn’t work for the care center he was in after the hospital. … But she somehow was scheduled in or got contracted in to help? My dad didn’t like this woman …. I just do not understand how someone can do this to him or his children. As times were already hard enough for all of us. …

    My point is, I really appreciate you doing this for people who are going through this and answering questions for them. I wish I saw your posts before all of this. But I’m happy to see the care people put forward to help others. Thank you for your love that you bring to the world in need. I’m sorry for what you and your family has been through as well.

    Thank you


    Arthur responded as follows:

    Arthur is very sorry for your losses and he thanks you for your kind remarks.

  29. I absolutely agree with the comments made by Bryan on February 9, 2019.

    I would like to mention that I am in the same situation as Sherri who posted on January 9, 2018, although my husband and I are in our 60s.

    Amy I appreciate your heartfelt and caring attempt to help all of us who are dealing with these devastating circumstances. However, I would just like to respectfully say that you are not every man and every woman. Neither is your relationship with your husband going to be similar to a lot of our relationships with our respective spouses. I would also like to mention that the majority of us spouses do actually understand how devastating prostate surgery is for our husband/male spouse.

    Sorry but what you seem to be overlooking is how devastating it is to both partners. Yes, the male partner looses his manhood, his male identity, his sense of what makes him a man; VERY TRAGIC! But, the partner also loses the person that she fell in love with, the person that she has known for maybe years, the sexual partner that she has enjoyed (for years, especially if they were sexually active). My point here is that both have lost, both are grieving, and both are hopeful that, after surgery and recovery, things will normalize and maybe not return back to how they used to be, but, that both partners will realize the importance of trying to return to normalcy.

    I have unfortunately found that after a year and a half of surgery and treatment, my husband has had no interest in trying to re-establish an intimate relationship. (But he’s quite happy going on porn sites.) I have expressed to him how important it is that we try to do so, for our marriage. He wants hugs, kisses, and affection but nothing more.

    I have explained that hugs, kisses, and affection are fine but I still have additional needs. My words fall on deaf ears. So, what is a partner to do in these circumstances? Couple’s therapy? The mere fact that you’re having to tell him that you have needs to me says it all.

    We can be sympathetic, sorry, and understanding, but, in the final analysis, we all have needs that need to be met.

    Amy, and others don’t. I think you need to recognize this too when you offer advice.

  30. Dear Monica:

    I am uncertain why you seem to think I am “giving men a pass” for their failures to acknowledge and act on the needs to their spouses and partners. I don’t. And there are plenty of examples in my “responses” above that demonstrate that. My suspicion has long been that many men are actually well aware of this problem but have no idea how to deal with it.

    On the other hand, each response that I write is not “generic”. It is a response to a very specific person (male or female) who has described a very specific problem that they are dealing with. And I try to address the individual problem.

    Am I perfect at this? Of course I’m not. And since my husband died a while ago from his prostate cancer, my personal relationships have very little to do with my responses. I will merely say that “things” were far from satisfactory from my perspective, but it wasn’t for lack of trying on my husband’s part because we were both able to at least talk about it.

    The situation you describe in your own relationship is common. Your husband, like many others, appears to be unwilling to try to deal with reality, but happy to indulge his fantasies, where he has no risk for or sense of failure. Could he be doing better that that? Of course he could, but he is likely to feel considerable shame and remorse. Do I have a simple answer to this? No, I don’t.

  31. Dear Amy:

    Great response to Monica. However, I’d like to add that it’s not a failure on men behave, it’s a medical and mental period that each man goes through. If by chance any of the women be there from Day 1 and attend doctor’s appointments, and to the the support group meetings, I believe they would have a better understanding of the mental anger that a man feels. I’m living very happily as a Stage IV prostate cancer survivor (after 9 years). It takes a lot of understanding and communication between the two. So please ladies be encouraging and patient with your mate, ’cause you have no idea the devastation he is going through.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Alfonzo:

    In an odd way you are making the same “error” that Amy was making, because you are assuming that all men behave the same way when they get a diagnosis of prostate cancer. They don’t.

    Some men cope with it extremely well and logically. For them there is no “devastating problem”. They can talk about it easily — with their spouse/partner and others, and regardless of the medical situation, they just get on with their lives. Oh, and they immediately say to their wife/partner, “Can you come with me to see the doctor today ‘cos two pairs of ears will be better than one.”

    At the other extreme, there are men who are utterly unable to even think about what is happening at all. They go into complete withdrawal (before and after whatever treatment — if any — that they decide to have). They refuse to let their spouse/partner come with them to medical appointments. They don’t go near a support group. And to all intents and purposes they try to pretend that what has happened hasn’t really happened at all. It’s not a “healthy” approach.

    And then of course there are all the different possible situations (including your individual one) in between.

    Now it is, of course, important for men to feel that their wives are being supportive and that the wives try as hard as they reasonably can to be patient and supportive too. But every situation is slightly different. I know of couples whose entire relationship turned out to be based on the quality of their sex life … and the woman was out the door as soon as it became clear that that was over. Similarly, I know of couples in which the man was utterly unaware of the ways he was abusing his wife by ignoring her, despite her having tried for years to accommodate to the complete change in his personality. Every couple has its own “special sauce” and dynamic. There is no “one size fits all”.

  32. Hi Amy. First, very sorry for your loss and thanks for your response. To be honest, I was not expecting you to have an answer to my problem. But, I want to thank you for at least having this forum because it obviously helps some people understand their circumstances.

    The thing that I find/found most helpful is the fact that there are others out there in the same situation as me. It does help one to have a different perspective and to look at their situation in a different light.

    Thanks again.

  33. Amy,

    My husband had his prostate removed 2.5 years ago. He has completely lost the ability to have sexual intercourse. We are both 62, so we were not quite 60 when he had his surgery and he’s doing great except we have no sex life whatsoever.

    I have asked him if he has the urge if I touch him or get close to him and he says there is nothing there. I am so very frustrated, because he doesn’t really try anything. He had the medication and the syringes that you inject into the penis, but refuses to let me give him a shot and he is scared to do it himself. He is not romantic and not loving at all, and he wasn’t before, but at least years ago we had a decent sex life.

    He still looks at women all the time and I wonder why; that has always hurt me. I am unfortunately starting to feel an urge to either move on or just have an affair. I don’t want to do either, but this is no way to live a life when you love sex and I have talked to him many times about my needs. He seems not to care.

    I am so stressed out about it all. What do you suggest?


    Amy replied:

    Dear Cynthia:

    Alas I am in no position to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do about the situation you describe. I don’t have a good answer to your question, and I also don’t make judgements, except for one:

    Whatever you decide to do, you need to let your husband know. If you don’t do that, then you are only compounding the problem.

    Every relationship is different. How each couple manages the ups and downs of their relationship over time is also going to differ. What works for Couple X would probably be okay for Couple Y (but not ideal) and complete anathema to at least one member of Couple Z.

    As a recent politician was fond of saying, “I feel your pain.” The problem is that after years of trying to help people like you and your husband, I can also feel his pain. He has also lost something that was crucial to him, and while I don’t “forgive” his inability to address your needs, I do recognize that this may be something he has no control over at all (rather like the way people can be afraid of mice or harmless insects).


  34. Hi,

    Recently I started dating a man whom is a survivor of prostate cancer. He is using a pump, I think. He knows what he’s doing and it works.

    However, I need to know about getting erection during oral sex. I’m going to talk to him about it but I want to understand more about what I can do. I can feel it inside him different. I’ve looked at Adam & Eve products but it’s to stimulate what’s been removed.

    Experience tells me, use something without penetrating anally. I know the area between the testicles is very stimulating. Would using a vibrator help me. I just want to make sure the oral sex on my part is satisfying.

    Please get back to me as soon as possible.

    Thank you,



    Amy replied

    Dear Wanda:

    It sounds to me as though though you may have a lot more experience in this “area” than me. However, …

    If I know one thing about what “turns a man on”, it has much more to do with who is doing it and whether it feels exciting to that particular man than it does with exactly what is being done and when. So …

    Your plan to talk to him about this is almost certainly the most important thing … and if you are talking to him about it while you are experimenting, I would expect that would be an even better idea (as in “So how does that feel? Would you like it if …?”). You can also simply ask him whether he would like to experiment with specific toys and whether he thinks they would help. He may or may not be “into” that. And even if he doesn’t get an erection during oral sex, he may still enjoy the interaction.


  35. Hi Amy,

    Husband is a awesome man, great and just awesome 36 yrs marriage. Had surgery for PC Stage 4 Robotic and never regained control also leaking, chemo. also has him bleeding every time he urinates. I am praying so hard and taking him everywhere for his full recovery he has really gone through it bless him. For the first 3 years he and I did nothing physical with me, his choice. I waited, period. I did nothing either, he is worth it and I believe in him.

    The doctor told me the medication he takes to heal will not allow him to want to do anything sexually. I understand. About 6 months ago he started initiating things with me. I was so thrilled everything happens so fast for me only though although there is no penetration because it has been so long without. I missed him terribly and still find him as sexy as ever. I tell him often. We talked about it after but he says he feels nothing. He wants to he says but can’t. I don’t want it to be a one-way street. I would like to do “things” for him to make him feel great even though I know no penetration can be done. Have you heard of situations like this before? What do women do to make their husband’s feel when the medication or situation doesn’t allow them to? How do they “blow his mind” when a husband says, I will do you but there is nothing there for me, and not to bother? He deserves to feel as great as I do in any way possible when he does “think of me and decide to satisfy me”.

    Can you let me know what others do?

    Thank you Amy.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Succe:

    So there are several things that a woman in your situation can do for a man in your husband’s situation … if she is willing and if he is interested.

    Even though your husband may not be able to get an erection because of his medications and his prior treatment, he may still be able to have a type of orgasm — and he won’t know that unless he is willing to try. However, the fact that he also has urinary leakage will be a problem for all concerned, and so if you are going to “try” different things (like oral sex or simply by stimulating him manually; see below), it might be wise for you to do this while he is wearing a condom so that neither of you get “grossed out” by any leakage of urine.

    Manual sex or a “hand job” is described in some detail in this article published in Cosmopolitan.

    Oral sex is properly known as “fellatio”, and if you look here you can find some very specific instructions.

    Both sets of these instructions apply to what a woman can do for a man who can still get erections, but most of them still apply in the case of you and your husband. He still isn’t going to get erections, but you might still be able to “blow his mind”. … However, do remember the condom because a mouthful (or a handful) of urine is probably not an experience that you would enjoy and it would probably embarrass the heck out of him.

    Just remember that a lot of what is great about sex goes on between the ears. So talk to him about what you are going to do and why (before and while you are doing it). Ask him what he would like you to do. Be “exploratory”. Make it romantic for him, and make sure it is fun for you both and not some sort of clinical exercise.

    The other thing that may be possible would be to talk to his doctors about him being able to have a penile implant. This would make something like real sex possible for both of you again. Many couples find that penile implants can completely rejuvenate their sex lives because the effects can feel so much like the real thing. However, I do have to tell you that other couples find them problematic, and the most important thing is to have a careful and detailed discussion with a doctor who specializes in this type of surgery, and to find out whether your husband’s insurance would cover the costs, because this is not cheap.

    Hope this helps you some.


  36. Hi Amy.

    We are 30 years married this year.

    Throughout our marriage, my husband was always emphatic that a marriage without sex is no marriage. He felt is was imperative. Throughout the years, the ups and downs, while busy with the kids, no matter where we were emotionally, to deny sex was off limits. He would be very vocal about that particular issue, not just privately with me. I would even say to him over the years that extenuating circumstances inhibit sex, but a marriage could still be strong. He would just repeat that a marriage without sex is not a marriage.

    He began having physical limitations 2 years ago and has since been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Impotent and incontinent with hopes to keep this aggressive Gleason 9 at bay. I have been supportive and very patient. More than several times I have asked him to still be intimate with me. Nothing. Zero. Absolutely no affection whatsoever. I am emotionally spent. Every time I pleasure myself, I end up in a puddle of … tears.

    Recently, I was open with him about my needs. I had kept quiet because we were all about figuring everything out with the surgeries and protocol. I asked him to please not to forget my needs. Again, nothing.

    Please don’t suggest counseling. If the aforementioned synopsis doesn’t indicate his “old school” perspectives, I will say that there are a lot of family “experts” in psychiatry on his side of the family and he writes it off as psycho babble.

    Am I being selfish? Uncaring? Dismissive of his psyche? If he had not been so imperative for all these years about sex, I would say it simply isn’t occurring to him the importance to me. But he can’t pretend to forget it now that he can’t. Part of me is furious to think it was him being so selfish all those years. Part of me wants to run because how could he be so narcissistic? When he got diagnosed, he told me that I had to get back to work, that he didn’t want to worry about my future. Now that I am working full time, he gets angry about that.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Delores:

    Of course you are not being selfish! Your husband’s behavior has been ridiculous from Day 1 and demonstrates just how utterly stupid some men are about sex and about their relationships with women in general and their wives/partners in particular. However, …

    Sadly, I have no idea what you can do about it unless you know someone who your husband will listen to and who you trust to be able to tell and if you feel sure that doing that doesn’t come with other risks (such as physical violence on the part of your husband).

    I have discussed the type of problem you describe on several occasions with “Arthur” (of Ask Arthur, also on this web site). Neither of us have ever been able to find a good way to address these problems other than counseling. Some men simply have such archaic ideas about male-female relationships that it is like trying to talk to a brontosaurus.

    I obviously don’t know your husband, so I have no idea how angry he might become if you were to do this, but someone needs to point out to him in words of one syllable that he apparently has no idea how to “care” — or maybe even think about — anyone except himself, and that at 65 years of age it is high time for him to learn at least something about the needs of others.

    I realize that this doesn’t help much, but please don’t think for one moment that you are being “selfish”. The one who is being selfish — and who has apparently been selfish, at least in regards to sex, for his entire adult life — is your husband.


  37. Thanks Amy, your response was very comforting. I’ve given it a lot of thought and I think he is really upset with himself for spending the last 2 years more concerned with testosterone shots and less on his PSA. This is why the cancer had time to spread. I think he feels like his own masculinity betrayed him. Having all of the health issues wrapped up in such a male:sex encompassing perspective makes it difficult to address sexuality in a clear minded way. Thanks again for your input. You have such a nice way of adding a bit of humor to an upsetting topic.

  38. Any,

    I have a special man in my life who has had prostate cancer. I’m madly in love with him and also nervous about having sexual experiences. I would love advice from you as you seem to have knowledge.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Ondihoo:

    If you are “nervous about having sexual experiences” with this “special man”, I respectfully suggest you consider that he may be even more nervous than you are!

    There is only one way to deal with this sensibly, and that is to talk about it with him so that appropriate expectations are set for all concerned. So I suggest you make it very clear to him that you are interested in taking this relationship to that level but that you think it would be a good idea if you were to have a conversation about exactly what he is and isn’t capable of up front so that everyone’s expectations could be addressed.

    Normally. these things “just happen” when everyone is willing, but in this situation he may well be scared to death by the fact that he thinks you have expectations that he may feel very concerned about fulfilling (or even know that he will not be able to fulfill). The whole situation needs to be placed into the context of “Well doing X together would be great even if we’re not able to do Y”.

    If you are both prepared to be risk takers, one way to do this is just to be honest with each other and say, “So let’s go to bed together but take things very slowly and talk about it as the event progresses with a very clear and mutual understanding that some of the things we might like to happen just can’t, and we’ll find out what those are over the course of the event.”

    As a whole, many of us are not very good at talking with our partners and spouses about our sex lives. However, this is a situation in which being able to have those conversations (in some detail) is really important, so maybe you need to just be blunt, and the next time you go to dinner you could say, “So I would like to go to bed with you, but I am really nervous about that and I suspect you may be too. Given the prostate cancer, how well does everything work for you these days?”

    At least that way the cards have to get put on the table.


  39. My husband no longer gets erections and his sexual performance is horrible. I am 2 years out from breast cancer and my hormones have been forced to stop. I have no sex drive; he has a huge sex drive but can’t perform. Yet he gets angry at me for not wanting sex at $75 a pop for the injection for sex I hate. Terri.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Terri:

    That doesn’t sound like a situation that is doing anything very positive for anyone! It sounds to me as though your husband needs some serious counseling, but I don’t suppose he would even consider that because he probably thinks he is in some way “entitled” to make you do something you have no interest in.

    I wish I had some sort of sensible answer for you …. Alas, I don’t.


  40. My husband is going into treatment for a recurrence of prostate cancer after a radical prostatectomy. It’s been 3 years and his PSA has gone from 0.01 in fall of 2018 to 0.06 ng/ml this past month. We are of course concerned about this and the treatment sounds ugly: hormone therapy plus radiation. We are worried about our quality of life: sexual function and continence. Can you tell us what to expect over the next year during treatment? Thanks so much.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Laura:

    Does your husband understand that his original surgery has not yet formally “failed”? The formal definition of failure of surgery is a PSA level of 0.2 ng/ml and rising.

    The question of when to start radiation therapy after early signs of a rising PSA is a very complex one, and depends on your husband’s original diagnosis; the findings at the time of surgery; and exactly how fast his PSA level is now rising (his PSA doubling time). I hope you and your husband have had a careful discussion about all this with his doctors. I am assuming that if the doctors think they should initiate salvage treatment as soon as is being suggested, that your husband’s original cancer was an aggressive type of cancer with a relatively high Gleason score.

    The combination of radiation therapy and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT, also known as “hormone” therapy) can be extremely effective at placing a man like you husband back into remission … sometimes for ever. Also, the risk for side effects from the radiation therapy component is now much, much lower than it was about 20 years ago. Most of the side effects from the radiation should be relatively minor (some diarrhea, for example) because radiotherapy can now be given with great accuracy. However, …

    The side effects associated with the ADT can be a lot more problematic. And those side effects depend in part on exactly how long the doctors plan on keeping your husband on the ADT, which could be as little as 6 months or as long as 2 or 3 years. The first thing you both need to get very clear about with the doctors is how long they think he is going to be on the ADT.

    If he is only going to be on the ADT for 6 to 9 months, then a year from now he should start to see his testosterone level rise again after treatment and he should be able to recover a similar level of erectile function to that which he has now … although this may take a little time. If he is going to be on the ADT for longer than about 9 months, then he is going to be at greater risk for longer-term loss of erectile function; weight gain; loss of libido; and a whole bunch of other side effects. Regardless of how long he is on the ADT, he may also be significantly impacted by “hot flashes”. The problem with the side effects of ADT is that they can vary considerably from person to person. Some men barely get hot flashes at all. Others get them so badly it is a real problem. There seems to be no way to predict this beforehand.

    I hope this helps a little.


  41. Amy,

    My boyfriend has prostate issues. It’s difficult for me sometimes. I try to be understanding, but I have sexual needs and when he doesn’t initiate sex (or if I initiate it he’s not receptive), it sometimes makes me feel like he’s not attracted to me.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Wanda:

    There is no real value in trying to assign either “responsibility” or “blame” to anyone for your and your boyfriend’s current situation. The problem is that you are both still trying to function as though your sex life should be “normal” (in whatever way that was for you both in the past), but that isn’t going to happen if your boyfriend has serious prostate issues that are affecting both his desire to have sex (his libido) and his ability to “perform” (i.e., his erectile function). In fact, he is probably just as concerned about all this as you are because he probably feels that he has “lost” much of his “maleness”.

    What you and your boyfriend need to be able to do is talk to each other about this situation and work out how to deal with the problem in ways that are acceptable to both of you. (Although I do understand that his can be very difficult for a lot of couples to do because so many of us are taught from an early age that actually talking about sex is in some way “taboo”.)

    The chance that your boyfriend is no longer attracted to you is probably very low. What is much more likely is that he is scared to death that you will lose interest in him because he can’t “perform” at a level that he considers that you will think is necessary. Most men are going to lose some level of their sexual “performance” capabilities as they get older (for all sorts of reasons). Being able to accept this is hard for them. So maybe one thing you should think about doing is just making it very clear to him that you are still attracted to him (and not just in the bedroom). But this is going to take time to work out between you, because he is going to have to be willing to think about doing things he may never have done before … and the same may be true for you. There is more to sex than the “missionary” position, and most of the best things about sex actually go on between the ears of the participants as opposed to between their genitalia!

  42. My husband had surgery in 2017. The radical I call it. At first he was doing the shots, which made it bend and have scar tissue and now it doesn’t work at all. That’s the last time we’ve had sex.

    He doesn’t have any sex drive. He doesn’t want to help me. No nothing. I feel like I’ve lost everything.

    My husband has always been a big flirt — which he says he’s not — and a gym buff. I had just caught him talking on Snapchat with another very young married preacher’s wife right before being diagnosed. I always say that’s God’s wake up call to him. But I feel all the betrayal in this 28-year marriage. I’ve always stood by him and now I feel he should be making up to me!


    Amy replied:

    Dear Donna:

    One of the most problematic issues to deal with when it comes to prostate cancer is its impact on couples’ sex lives.

    I understand entirely why you feel the way you do. … Alas, I have no “magic bullet” that can help you deal with this problem. The only things that might work are: (a) being able to actually talk with your husband about all of this (with or without some professional help) and (b) finding a specialist who could evaluate your husband for the possibility that he could have a penile implant (which would be able to allow his to “do something” again). Some couples have discovered that the man getting a penile implant completely changed their lives for the better, but they don’t work for everyone … and some men simply can’t deal with the idea at all.

    The other question will be whether your husband’s insurance would cover a penile implant. This varies by insurance provider. TH costs can be significant.


  43. Hi Amy,

    Can you please help me. Me and my husband have been together for 5.5 years and married for 2.5 years. He is 56 years old and I am 53 years.

    He was diagnosed with prostate cancer mid last year, and had his prostate removed April 2019. I have been very supportive and always said that him surviving this was more important that what goes on in the bedroom.

    He is now 4 months post-op, with no erection, and we are aware it can take 12 months or more to recover. We have been having some playtime to keep us aroused, more so on my husband’s side as I have to admit I do have a low libido and was like this even before the operation. We have never talked about this as I have never felt there has been a need as he senses and jokes about this and I have always thought that was OK. We always did have intercourse at least on average twice a week until the operation 4 months ago.

    I came home unexpectedly tonight, to what I sensed was he was up to something, as I heard a bang down the side of the sofa as I walked in. During the evening he was on edge all night.

    I came downstairs as I couldn’t sleep and switched on the iPad to find he had been watching porn.

    We never argue; are on the same level to our future together; have our plans set out. He is so thoughtful, loving, and caring, I thought I’d found my perfect man.

    Please Amy what do I do? If I don’t say anything he will continue to watch. For me it is betrayal. I don’t know where to start



    Amy replied:

    Dear Diane:

    The answer to this is very simple. You and your husband need to talk about this.

    I’d be very surprised if this has anything to do with you at all — and you may be over-reacting to feel “betrayed”. A man of your husband’s age who is used to having regular intercourse and who loses his ability to get erections is commonly psychologically devastated by this. It may be no more that your husband seeing if there is anything (short of actual infidelity) that can help him to accelerate recovery of erectile function.

    Now this may be difficult for you to accept or understand, but if you don’t talk with your husband about it, it is going to fester. It is obviously something that he is embarrassed by, or he wouldn’t have tried to hide it from you — which he seems to have done a pretty poor job of. However, I would strongly suggest that you tried to “play this cool” and simply tell him that you know he’s been experimenting to see if he could find a way to get his erections back sooner. If you’re feeling brave you could also ask him if there is anything else you could be doing to help.

    I understand that this may be somewhat outside your normal “comfort zone” … but there is every reason to believe it is outside your husband’s too! Talk to him about it.


  44. I am totally ignored by my husband who has metastasized prostate cancer.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Kate:

    Obviously I know nothing about the exact state of your husband’s disease. However, …

    If your husband is receiving even just standard therapy for metastatic prostate cancer, with regular injections of a drug called an LHRH agonist (e.g., Lupron) for the treatment of his condition, it is far from surprising that he may seem to be “totally ignoring” you. Drugs like this suppress a man’s normal testosterone levels in order to delay progression of the cancer.

    However, a normal effect of suppressing testosterone levels is that this also has a whole spectrum of other emasculating effects. He probably can’t get an erection any more; his libido has probably been suppressed (meaning that he has lost all interest in sex). He may well be very depressed because he doesn’t “feel like a man” any longer. He is likely to feel ashamed about this. He is likely to be very worried about the fact that other men will find out about this. And he is potentially scared to death by the idea that any attempt at intimacy on his part will be a failure — which will then make him feel even less like a man (and be unsatisfactory for you too). This is a lose-lose situation for many men because they have been taught all their lives that their sexual capabilities and functions are the defining characteristic of “maleness” (however stupid that may sound).

    Somehow or other, you and your husband need to be able to talk about this together … and that can be extremely difficult for many couples because — even if they have enjoyed a very healthy and satisfying sex life over time — they may never have actually talked about what they like, what they don’t like, what is OK or not OK between them, and a whole bunch of other related stuff.

    The bottom line here is that your husband needs your help and your understanding. He needs to know that you still love him anyway, and that you don’t see him as “less of a man” because of what he is going through. Find “male” things for him to do. Tell him how much you appreciate it that he can do thin gs for you that would be difficult for you to do yourself. Bolster his ego and try to make him feel better about himself. If you can get him to feel more like a “man”, it may be possible for you to open the door to a conversation about whether he even understand that he has been ignoring you and what you can do about it together.

    I hope this helps a little. Unfortunately there is no “magic cure” for these effects on many men with metastatic prostate cancer. If there was, I would most certainly tell you.


  45. Amy:

    My boyfriend was just recently told he has prostate cancer in 6 of 12 chambers. He was given three options: radiation or surgery or do nothing.

    I want to be there for him. I just don’t know what I should say. At first I said surgery but now I have researched this some what and I am not sure that is the only option. He is worried about having sex, erections, orgasms, and peeing in his pants.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Janet:

    If your BF was given the three options you mention, then it seems very likely that he has a relatively low-risk form of prostate cancer and that the “do nothing” option actually refers to careful monitoring over time (in case the need to “do something” actually becomes clinically important).

    If you (or your boyfriend) were to join our social network and answer some of the question you will be asked, then we may be able to help you and your boyfriend better understand his risk and how to think about his options. It also seems likely that if he was given these three options that he does not need to make a decision in a hurry, and he may want to get more than one opinion.

  46. Is it OK to have oral sex after prostate been removed because of cancer. He wears a pad in case he drips. I don’t want that in my mouth and can it be harmful to me?


    Amy replied:

    Dear Deb:

    Most of us can understand why the idea of oral sex with a man who is leaking urine is probably not exactly sexually exciting! The simplest answer is to tell him you’ll be happy to give him oral sex … but only if he wears a condom. Of course that may not seem particularly exciting to him!

    So long as your partner doesn’t have any type of urinary tract infection, the risks of oral sex without a condom with a man who is leaking a little urine are actually very low, but (as stated above) it may not be alluring.


  47. Is it safe to have oral sex after having seeds implanted for prostate cancer?


    Amy replied:

    Dear Barbara:

    It wouldn’t be wise to have oral sex for several months after the initial implantation of radioactive seeds for two reasons. First, the area close to the prostate is emitting radioactivity because of the seeds for at least 3 or more months after the implantation. Secondly, very occasionally a radioactive seed can become dislodged and come out through the patient’s urethra. The last thing one would want to do is accidentally swallow such a seed.

    The precise period of time when it should be safe to re-initiate oral sex after implantation of seeds by brachytherapy dep[ends on exactly what seeds were used and their radioactive “half-life”. I kn ow it sounds embarrassing, but either you or your husband/partner should ask this question of the doctor who carried out the implantation.


  48. I try to satisfy my boy friend, who’s 56 years old and living with type 1diabetes and prostate cancer. I get him going but my sucking him for so long gets my mouth to start bleeding by biting my lips in the process of give him pleasure. So my question is how and what can I do to get him to cum without getting tired and biting my mouth.I really want to satisfy him so he can satisfy me afterwards.

    He’s not a romantic person. He doesn’t like to cuddle or just let me lie under him for intimacy. I am very horny for his Love that he used to give me when we first met. Help me to understand why he’s not as much into our sexual relationship. It’s bad enough he doesn’t like doing anything fun like going out our just having a night together you know what I mean?


    Amy replied:

    Dear Pamela:

    There are two possible reasons for the changes in your relationship with your boyfriend. The first is the simple one of time. Levels of intimacy tend to decline with familiarity and age, and if your boyfriend was never a particularly “romantic” person in the first place, it seems likely that part of the problem is simply that. The other part of the problem is that if he has been treated for prostate cancer (and you don’t say whether he has actually been treated or not), then that it is very normal for this to affect all sorts of things about a man’s attitudes to and ability to have sexual intercourse.

    There is no way that I know of to make a man who has lost interest in sex regain it unless he starts to see you as sexually interesting again. Maybe what you need to do is stop trying to meet his needs and go back to being the person he saw when he first met you … someone who “turned him on” because of what she was and did then (as opposed to what you are doing now). His ability to have good erectile function could be helped by the use of “little blue pills”, but even those only work well if he is actually interested by the idea of sex.


  49. Hi. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer 7 years ago. I just this past spring underwent a radical prostatectomy followed by radiation through the summer. My concern that I hope you have some insights for is this:

    My wife isn’t the least bit interested in sex anymore. We have had a great sex life in the past but she pretty much lost interest when we learned I was to have surgery and it has gotten progressively worse since my treatment. I recognize that I’m not as “masculine” as I used to be but I’m still very much interested in and capable of sexual intercourse — although maybe not as well as I used to be.

    Why has my wife shut this part of our relationship out? When I ask her about it I get “we will again”, “I’m just not in the mood”, “I’m tired” until one of these happened before my treatment and many times she says she’s too tired but then stays up to watch TV for 2 hours. What can I do to get my wife back? It’s not my fault I got cancer and, to the best of our knowledge I’m beating it. How do I get my marriage back on track?


    Amy replied:

    Dear Robu;y

    It sounds to me as though what is missing for your wife is what is often missing for women as relationships get extended — a sense of romance.

    Sex for men is primarily a physical issue, but sex for women is much more about the sense that they are desirable and desired. So what you are going to need to do is work out how you can start to show your wife, all over again, that you love her more than you can say, and that you understand that intimacy between you is not just about “let’s go to bed”. Time to initiate a regular date night. Take her out dancing or to the movies of whatever else it is that she likes. You need to become exciting for her all over again.

    The prostate cancer is probably secondary to other aspects of your relationship with your wife. If you are both excited by each other — physically and mentally — then you will find a way to work out how to have mutually satisfying sex.


  50. What a great idea. Thank you for sharing your views . My partner was diagnosed with Stage III prostate cancer in August and 3 months into the Prostap and various appointments he seems tired and sleeps a lot and is not as loving (affection wise) and his libido has practically vanished . He also seems a little bit snappy and more selfish than usual. Hopefully he will be back to the man I know so well soon. He starts radiotherapy on December 4. I try and be as supportive as I can be. It’s hard for partners too, but I feel bad saying that.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Ragbags1:

    I’m not sure which “great idea” you might be referring to. However, …

    I do want to make sure that you know I understand about the “hard for partners too” thing. No one “signs up” knowingly for some of the consequences that come with diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer. They can be very hard. Hopefully, once your husband has completed radiotherapy he won’t need to stay on the Prostap for too long, and then he may be able to recover his “normal” personality once the effects of the Prostap start to wear off.


  51. Amy:

    My husband was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer 14-16 months ago. He had surgery and did 6 months of chemotherapy.

    During this time he became disrespectful to me and disengaged from our new marriage (his second; my first; his first wife cheated), I was his caregiver along with some family but mostly just me. Even a few of the adult kids didn’t visit much. I sacrificed and my adrenal glands are shot; low weight from stress. I have pride in being a good wife and how I stepped up. He has since completed chemotherapy and is in remission but continued his cruelty and self-sabotaging of marriage. Argues to win at all costs. Won’t inform me of finances anymore. He’s on my accounts I’m not on his etc.

    Yes it takes two but I’ve been fighting for my marriage for almost 2 years. I finally got him into therapy because I was ready to leave. Now he is using it as a cause to hate me. He never tells his therapist that my angry reactions are because of his emotional abuse. This is not the man I married.

    He has gotten worse since starting therapy — narcissistic abusive behavior. Same as when on chemo. He basically doesn’t care and will choose himself over the good of the marriage or to win a fight instead to resolve an issue. I am beat down. This therapist is too far away, so I can’t do visits with him and I’m so hurt he is throwing me away like trash after what I did for him to show my love and commitment. He sees me as the villain. Why me? He fought for his marriage to his ex-wife? Why not me? What do I do? We’ve been married 4 years and I am proud of the wife I’ve been to him. Why is everything my fault? Why is he so cruel and won’t own his behavior?


    Amy replied:

    Dear Liz:

    Obviously this has nothing to do with prostate cancer, and it may have nothing to do with your husband’s colon cancer either.

    All this sounds like the behavior of a nasty and self-centered individual, and one of the problems you may not know about is exactly what his prior marriage was like. You may only have one side of that particular tale. It seems that at least some of his adult children are well aware that he is not someone that they want to be around if they can avoid it. If that is the case, the characteristics and behaviors you started to see recently may be characteristics and behaviors they have seen for years.

    I can’t tell you why he is this way, and I can’t tell you what you should do under the circumstances, but I don’t think I would put up with a husband who treated me this way. A question you need to address seriously after nearly 18 months of this is: what is it that you think you are trying to rescue?


  52. Your comments are completely left field of the truth. Wait until you get diagnosed with cancer and now your clock starts. You will be bitter, aggressive, argumentative because most cancers require treatment. You can’t pray away cancer and you can sit and wait. It doesn’t get better with antibiotics or vitamins. It requires surgery most of the time that completely changes the formula for someone’s normal daily life. Then add in chemo. A mans pride and joy is his weight and muscle index. Anyone on chemo becomes a weak, febile air of space. They lost most muscle mass; they can’t walk around, can barely eat from feeling sick all day and it causes you to lose all your organic hair.

    Women are attracted to strength not weakness and that is what men understand.

    Stop making this all about you. It’s hard on the female to be engaged with someone who has to go through cancer but it doesn’t give you a right to make this all about you and what you think he has become. We all die at some point but in my clinical experience, cancer and cancers give you a definite timeline and no one likes hearing that truth.

    Once again, you can’t pray away cancer or pay for it to go away like an attorney problem. It requires facing the medicine and the truth and the surgery and it isn’t easy for anyone to have to go through.

    Even after chemo, you still think you are going to die. Most chemo patients that go on to remission, lose their life in other ways. Chemo makes your cells change rapidly so you are prone to more infections and secondary blood cancers. You can lose your teeth, lose your appetite. Skin cancer is more prone and it’s a nightmare in general.

    I normally as a clinical professional wouldn’t say any of this in public but you women sound so disgraceful to make this all about you.

    If you had breast cancer and we’re dealing with this, you would hate a man forever if he complained about you left and right.

    I’ve said my peace. Leave the man the h… alone.


    Amy replied:

    I had originally thought that this comment should be simple deleted as utterly unhelpful and unconstructive. However, I set it to one side because we VERY rarely just delete commentary on this site.

    Now, having “sat on this” for a few days I have changed my mind and posted the author’s comment [ without any edits] because it appears to exemplify nearly everything about certain types of male attitude both to sickness and to women. We suggest others use this to help them understand what goes on in the heads of some of the males of the species Homo sapiens (apparently whether they have cancer or not). It is not a pretty picture, and it is apparently based on some distinctly odd beliefs and opinions.


  53. My partner had prostate surgery 2 years ago. We have probably had intercourse five to seven times since, but all the other times have been terribly unsuccessful. I have been supportive and have tried to be encouraging. However, over time I have become repulsed. It seems like all the burden is on me and it is my job to “turn him on.” My sexual pleasure doesn’t seem to be much of a consideration and he hasn’t been adept at much besides the act of intercourse in the past. He hasn’t been able to get an erection of any kind for a year and prefers I perform oral sex on his very limp penis. I feel like I am having sex with a child and it literally makes me sick to my stomach. When he does have an orgasm, with a non-erect penis, he releases a lot of fluid. No one seems to know what this is other than urine. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. He doesn’t have a clue how I feel and seems to be in complete denial. He is 70 years old and I don’t see things improving. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. …


    Amy replied:

    Dear Kari:

    If you look back through some of the other questions above and my responses to them, you will see that, unfortunately, the situation you describe is all too common. Some men seen to be completely blind to the idea that their sexual gratification doesn’t exist in a vacuum (whether they have prostate cancer or not, although that doesn’t help the situation).

    I wish — you have no idea how much I wish — that I could tell you something truly helpful. In reality, your husband needs to see someone who can assist him to understand what you are going through and why what he is asking you for is unreasonable. The problem is that few of us are ever really honest with our partners about how we think about sex and what we are really willing to do to make it enjoyable for ourselves and for our partner. If there is any way that you think you can have that conversation with your husband, you need to try it, but I am well aware how difficult that can be.


  54. Dear Amy,

    I came across your site while looking for information or studies done that could alleviate or at least explain my feelings since my recent radical prostatectomy. I had hoped (and foolishly expected) to find other people (patients or wives, girlfriends) who had a similar reactions but, after many searches over several weeks, I’m beginning to think that I’m weird. I was expecting changes to our life and we both had talked a little about facing the future and how we would cope, mainly with the loss of sexual function, which did help in summoning the courage to go through with it but, perhaps not surprisingly, I was unprepared for these feelings of femininity that have arisen. I was already aware of a loss of masculinity, but, as I am long past needing to prove anything to anyone, it didn’t particularly bother me, or us. I had just assumed that life might get a little quieter.

    I was wrong. On the inside, I have turned female. I don’t know if it’s temporary or not. I don’t know who I can talk to about it. I tried to broach the subject with my nurse but she laughed and said that ED rehabilitation was what I needed. Every article or study I read talked about the need for this rehab but in a detached kind of way, simply perform as a male and everything will be fine. There was never a discussion on gender feelings in the patient.

    [The writer goes on to describe aspects of hios sense of “feminization” in considerable detail and we have redacted this information so as to protect his identity. Amy has responded, below, to only some of the issues raised by the writer. In this unusual case, Amy and the sitemaster have provided some further information directly to the write as well.]

    I knew as soon as I recovered from the anesthetic that things were different. My brain is seeing and processing everything differently. I had thought that the operation would be an ordeal requiring recovery and a positive attitude. A bump in the road. I was not expecting this. Everything, absolutely everything, is different now, except that it’s not. I’m different now. Different absolutely. Nowhere have I heard of this nor have I come across even the simplest, “You’re still OK even if you feel feminine.” I am ashamed and scared and more than a bit lost.

    Yours sincerely,



    Amy replied:

    Dear WD:

    First, and most importantly, you need to find a way to talk to your lady friend about what is going on. Your relationship to her is based on her knowing the truth, and you might be surprised by her reaction. Another patient who I know well told me today that while he was on androgen deprivation therapy he had become much more sensitive to things like the shoes his wife bought and how the furniture was laid out in their house, so your reactions may not be as unusual as you think.

    Second, you may want to talk to a physician who has experience with managing patients who deal with gender recognition issues. While what you are dealing with may be temporary or something else. you would almost certainly benefit from being able to at least discuss what is going on with a physician who has real experience in this area and who is not going to be making inappropriate judgments.

    Thirdly, and very seriously, I want to thank you for trusting us with the information you have provided. You may be bringing to light a set of male responses to radical prostatectomy that are more common than we realize … because many men may feel utterly unable to be open about the sensations that you are describing. We are hopeful that what you have told us might make it more possible for other men with similar reactions to be open about this.

    As the sitemaster has indicated above, we will be communicating with you further in a private way when we have further in formation that we hope might be useful.


  55. I’m looking for the right words to say to my husband. We’ve been married 24 years and were 55 yrs old when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He’s withdrawn and I need the right words to let him know that I’m here for him 1000%.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Tamara:

    Words aren’t always the best way to deal with what you and your husband are going through. Like many men before him, he has had some of his most fundamental biological assumptions about what “makes him a man” challenged by his diagnosis and his treatment. He may not even be willing or able to talk about it yet.

    What you need to do is build up his ego and make it as evident as you can that you still see him as “your man” (without actually ramming it down his throat). So, here are some things you could think about trying …

    Make sure your thank him him for all the little “male” things that he always did and perhaps is still doing — from helping with the dishes after meals to taking out the trash. Find small things that need to be done around the house and ask him if he could either do these or help you to do them, “‘cos I’ll never get that done right without you”. See if you can persuade him to take you out on a regular date night every couple of weeks, and make sure that those date nights are to do something you know he likes or liked to do. The n after he gets used to the idea maybe you can try doing something that he knows you like to do.

    If part of the problem is that he is (or seems to be) avoiding intimacy, he is going to need a little time to deal with this, and you are going to need to be a little patient. He is probably scared to death of being “unable” to “perform” in the way he expects to and in the way he thinks you will expect him to. This can get really complicated — especially if you are the type of couple that enjoyed regular intercourse but almost never actually talked about it.

    Your husband is going to need to re-learn what it can mean to be “male”. And he is going to need your help to achieve this. He probably feels that there is no one he can talk to about this at all. To some extent it is almost like you are going to need to start dating all over again, although this time you may need to be the one who shows him that you are “safe” to be with and who isn’t going to push him to places he isn’t ready to go to yet.

    I hope this helps a little. What you do may be more important than anything you can say.


  56. I’m the wife of a husband who has prostate cancer which is the aggressive type of cancer. He refused any kind of treatment. He was given 2 years and his first year is coming up in October.

    I feel like his cancer is spreading but I’m not for sure. He has been having a lot of stomach problems lately. His pee is a darker color now. And his poop is green. He has also lost some weight. I’m trying to find answers that will ease my mind. Any answer or advice would be appreciated.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Mary:

    I am very sorry to hear about your husband’s diagnosis, but it is also very hard to know exactly what is going on with your husband without a LOT more information, and it seems possible that he hasn’t even been sharing all the information that he has been given with you.

    The things that you mention (the stomach problems, the weight loss, and the urinary and bowel issues) certainly could all be associated with progressive, metastatic prostate cancer. However, you do not mention anything like severe back pain, which is one of the most classic symptoms of advanced prostate cancer because metastatic prostate cancer commonly grows into the bones and most specifically into the bones (the vertebrae) that make up the backbone.

    I think it would be really helpful if you were able to go with your husband to see his doctor(s) because (a) this would help you to understand more about what is actually going on with the progression of his cancer and (b) it would help you to understand what could be done to alleviate any symptoms of his disease.

    Even if he does not want to have actual treatment for the prostate cancer (which some men just don’t want to do, for all sorts of possible reasons), there are still things that can be done to just help him live from day to day with a slightly better quality of life, but you may need to be able to help him with that.

    What I can tell you — very clearly, because you do need to understand this — is that if your husband does have metastatic prostate cancer, and he has received no treatment for this, his life expectancy is limited to maybe 2 to 4 years from the time he was initially diagnosed. You may want to be able to talk to his doctors about getting a visiting nurse to come and help with his care at home at some point in the future, and also being able to get him into hospice care as he nears the end of his life, if that is possible near to wherever you live.

    These things are NOT easy for a spouse to deal with — especially if she isn’t completely “in the loop” about what is going on. However, at some point it will become difficult for you to be able to care for him all on your own, and so your husband needs to make sure you are fully informed because if and when he starts to suffer from severe bone pain, he is going to start to need a lot of help — even if only for a while.


  57. Hi Amy.

    My husband says he can’t do it with me because of his surgery. He does it with porn almost every day. He thinks I don’t know. It hurts so bad. It’s been 2 years now. First he said it was ED. He still could watch porn. Now after surgery, the doctor got it all. He is in the clear. Do you have any advice?


    Dear Carol:

    I think you need to understand a couple of things (which may or may not help).

    First, your husband may well have had ED, and then he may have had prostate cancer, and then he may have had successful surgical treatment for the prostate cancer. However, your husband may also not be able to get an erection any more — even after the surgery, unless he can get some additional help. What is more, this can be absolutely traumatic for many men, because their entire psyche can be so closely associated with their mental concepts of “maleness” and their supposed sexual prowess (whether that is “real” or not). The use of pornography to stimulate their belief that they are still sexually capable is in many ways an attempt to hide their shame and fear that they really aren’t. I can tell you with absolute certainty that most men who have a radical prostatectomy after a diagnosis of prostate cancer do lose a significant proportion of their sexual and erectile function. That is especially true among men who had ED prior to the prostate cancer.

    So … “What can you and your husband do about this?” The first thing is that you both need to be able to admit to the problems and you need to learn to be able to talk about this. You may need help to do this, i.e., a psychological counselor of some type. Your doctor (or your husband’s urologist) ought to be able to recommend someone. Men often have a harder time with this than women because it involves “owning up” to the real problems — one of which is very definitely the fear of failure as a sexually potent male.

    The second question is, “What has your husband been willing to try?” If anything? Viagra, Cialis, a vacuum erection device (VED), the combination of an VED + something like Viagra? I am also aware of men (and their spouses or partners) who absolutely swear by having had a penile implant (done by an appropriately experienced specialist). However, the first and hardest thing is often to open the door to these conversations between a man and his wife. All too often, these are not the sorts of things that have ever been discussed at all — in 30 or more years of marriage. Do you think you might be able to open the door to conversations like that? Would you be willing to ask him if you could watch some pornography with him, for example? I know that might sound crazy to you, but perhaps if you can acknowledge his need to do this (however bizarre it may seem to you), then he could open up about why he feels unable to even think about “real” sex with you.

    You also need to know that there are physicians who specialize in the management of male sexual function. They are often subspecialists called “andrologists”. There is a relatively new book by a specialist called Jeffrey Albaugh, PhD, called Reclaiming Sex & Intimacy After Prostate Cancer. I haven’t read it myself, but you might find it to be helpful.


  58. How do you ask a married female friend if she fantasizes about you? I told her I want to be with her sexually!!

  59. Amy replied:

    Dear Mr. Lake:

    While you are welcome to ask any question you like on this web page, yours appears to have nothing to do with prostate cancer, and I am certainly not under any obligation to answer it!


  60. My boyfriend is 61 and has stage 4 prostate cancer! He was taking an antiestrogen but has stopped. He told me he would develop estrogen! He said he was told to embrace the soft feminine world but now he likes dressing up like a woman — wears makeup, etc., but this is only done in the house. Is this normal?


    Amy replied:

    Dear Dawn:

    It is a little unclear to me exactly how your boyfriend has been being treated, and how his specific forms of treatment may have affected his hormone balance. Most men are treated with antiandrogenic agents of one or more types as opposed to “antiestrogens”. Such treatments for advanced prostate cancer severely lower a man’s testosterone levels and this can lead to various forms of “feminization” from a hormonal point of view. The degree to which this can occur in individual patients varies a great deal from patient to patient. It would be unusual for most patiets to develop high levels of estrogen, but there are patients who are actually treated to estrogen patch therapy to help to manage their prostate cancer. Is that what he has been doing?

    While I don’t think it would be accurate to say that your BF’s desire to wear women’s clothes and makeup is “normal”, I have certainly come across this a few times before. What we don’t know at all is how many men might “feel” like they want to do things like this but are unwilling or unable to act on those feelings. One way to look at this in the case of your BF is that it is actually, probably, rather brave of him to accept these feelings — even if he confines this behavior to your house.

    Of course the other aspect is how you feel about this. It is presumably a little hard to handle based on your prior relationship. Are you able to talk about this to each other? Does it offend you, or are you able to at least able to smile about it and tell him when his makeup doesn’t suit him? Also, if he is going to do this I hope he is getting clothes and makeup for himself and not just borrowing yours without your permission.

    I am unable to give you any really clear guidance about how to react to his behavior because that is very much a matter of your and his personal attitudes to what has been happening. What I can tell you though, is that your BF seems to have been able to accept what has been happening to him as opposed to fighting against it and becoming angry and resentful (which can be a common reaction to the androgen deprivation (ADT, also known as “hormone” therapy).

    I hope this helps at least a little.


  61. Five years ago, after 45 years of marriage and two kids, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I had a radical prostatectomy and my surgeon advised me that it was localised but because of its position he was unable to save the nerves. I have now been clear for 5 years but even with injections I have never been able to raise an erection. On occasion I pleasure my wife to a climax with manual stimulation. It bothers us both that she can do little in return. Her interest is waning since she has now passed through the menopause. It seems my need is greater than hers as it always was.

    My problems are more psychological. It is devastating to realise that you now have lost your major function as a male. Like many, I joke about it, in that I am now more like a female since I have no prostate. I have taken to wearing female clothes and cutting my hair in a female style and find increasing compulsion to do this. My wife, I think, tolerates this, and has even been slightly supportive. I don’t go out dressed this way, although I would like to. I find that the whole process eases my tensions. I am not into porn. I did worry about whether it meant I was gay, but having examined this, I have decided I most definitely am not. Neither have I interest in lesbian-type activities. I just feel more at ease.

    Because of where we live, I do not think that counselling is an option. My real concern is what my wife thinks about it all. We have talked, but I remain unconvinced about what she really thinks. Unlike many, having caught the cancer early, we have in all probability quite a few years to go.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Rick:

    There are really only three things you can do about a “problem” like this (if it really is a problem).

    The first and most important is to keep talking to your wife about it and make quite sure that you are both on the same page. This will take time and patience, and you do have to be willing to believe what she tells you.

    The second is to seek counseling of some type. It may not be as difficult to find an appropriate counselor as you think, although I am certainly no expert of how the British health system works.

    The third is to ask your current doctor for a referral to a subspecialist called an andrologist (a doctor who specializes in male hormonal function). It is possible that you could be given testosterone replacement therapy to recover your normal male hormonal function. However, you would need to want to have such treatment, and you would need to be carefully evaluated for potential risk of consequent, recurrent prostate cancer. That would depend on how successful your radical prostatectomy had been and the original risk-level of your prostate cancer.


  62. Can I say something about this? He blames his wife’s menopause on her apparent lack of sexual interest, but look at what she’s dealing with. Erectile distinction gets old fast. Women lose interest because we don’t know how to find mutual satisfaction, or frankly, we’re tired of being expected to give oral sex constantly. Also, perhaps a husband who dresses up as a woman is a bit of a turn off. Just a thought! I hate it when men blame menopause for our lack of interest in sex. Mostly, we still want sex, but it just becomes too difficult. Funny thing is when women or are have affairs, suddenly there’s plenty of libido.


    Dear Carmen:

    I”m am not at all sure what the point of your comment is. This is a much more complex situation than you seem to want to deal with. And I don’t believe that Rick is “blaming” his wife for anything. In my opinion he seems to be grateful to her for having a degree of understanding about what he is going through.



  63. Thanks for your feedback Amy. We do keep talking and I am very aware of the stress I put her under. We are trying to balance that with the stress I feel. Part of the problem is that we are both have very high ‘accommodation’ indices which is both a benefit and a “curse”.

    Counselling is not really an option since, although we are English, we live in France. I don’t think my language skills are up to the nuances necessary in counselling.

    Visiting the doctor has similar problems. However, I’m inclined to think my problem is too much testosterone, rather than too little. Messing about with hormones is not generally a good idea following prostate cancer.

    You are correct in that I am not blaming my wife as Carmen suggests. It was my wife’s comment attempting to reassure me that she was happy I was still here and that the sex was not a big issue to her. It is perhaps difficult for women to appreciate just how devastating it can be to a man to no longer be able to have sex with his wife. I am just grateful that she is so supportive and stands by me.


  64. Hello Amy.

    My husband started treatment for prostate cancer a year ago. He had radiation, seed implants, and hormone treatments. He shows no interest in me sexually. I have asked him to “have fun” many times, but he doesn’t even attempt sex. When I had a radical hysterectomy, he asked me for the same consideration, and we found intimacy.

    How can I change this? He is 67, I am 61, we have been married for 5 years.


    Helen K.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Helen:

    It is almost certainly the androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), also known as hormone therapy, that has caused your husband to “have no interest” in you sexually. I am glad to hear that you have been able to talk to him about this, and I think you need to keep talking, but this may take time and you may need to have patience. He is unlikely to be able to get meaningful erections, and this loss of erectile function can be traumatic for males because so much of their psychological persona can be so tied to their ability to have a high level of sexual functionality.

    I understand that this is difficult for you as well as for him, but hang in there, especially if he is only going to be on the ADT for a relatively short period of time. If and when he comes off the ADT his testosterone levels will start to rise again, and even if he is still unable to “perform” as in the past, he may at least be willing to try to “have fun”.


  65. Thanks Amy, I appreciate the support and advice. I need it! He will be on ADT for 18 months, but I am hopeful. I read your entire blog, it was a huge help to me. The first time I have felt “relief” in a year.



    Amy replied:


    When your husband comes off the ADT, ask the doctors to start monitoring his serum testosterone level about 6 months after he has his last injection of the ADT. By that time it would be reasonable to think his serum T might have started to rise again, and you could start to see whether he is regaining interest in a little entertainment … but do understand that he may still be very nervous and worried about this.

  66. I would like to have somebody that understands prostrate cancer and our quick decision to just have it removed. We are married 33 years and we are both in our fifties. We choose a penile implant and have to say that wasn’t the best decision. I welcome any feedback and am willing to give my opinion. Please do not tell me about toys. Been there did it 30 years ago.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Deb:

    Obviously I am missing a LOT of information about your and your husband’s precise situation. However, my assumption is that he had a radical prostatectomy a while ago now and he has not been able to recover meaningful erectile function since. Is that right?

    Now I don’t know what else you may have tried prior to the penile implant, but my bet would be that you would at least have tried drugs like Viagra or Cialis.

    The problem is that if other things didn’t work and then he had the penile implant and that didn’t work either, then you have really run out of most meaningful options. I don’t like having to tell you this, but I also feel I need to be frank with you.

    The only thing that I know of is that there are a variety of types of penile implant and it is possible that the one you tried could be replaced by something different, but that would require a surgeon who really specialized in this type of surgery to evaluate your husband and discuss with you both what is possible (because there may not be a reasonable option at all).

    I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but …


  67. Amy, thanks for taking my questions.

    I had prostate cancer 9 years ago and received radiation for treatment. ED set in veryquickly. My wife and I have not had sexual intercourse in 8 years. After the surgery, does the head of the penis engorge with blood again? How does it feel while in your vagina? Can your spouse receive oral sex? Did your spouse receive the three-piece (inflatable) device?

    I guess to summarize, IS IT WORTH IT?


    Amy replied:

    Dear Wayne:

    First and foremost, I need to be clear that my husband never had an implant. He had advanced prostate cancer and he passed away several years ago now. I therefore cannot answer your question about “how it feels” from a female perspective.

    I do NOT believe that there is any (or at best minimal) engorgement of the head of the penis with blood again.

    What I am aware of, however, is the following: Some men say it has had massive impact on recovery of their personal sense of masculinity and maleness. Some couples say that it has allowed them to recover a very satisfactory sex life and sense of intimacy. And then some men and some couples say that it has left them utterly dissatisfied. My suspicion is that there may be all sorts of factors at play here — the type of implant; the expectations of the man and his spouse or partner; the skill and experience of the surgeon; etc.

    The bottom line to all of this is that no one is going to be able to make guarantees for you about how well a penile implant will work for you and your spouse. You are going to need to talk about that. Then you are going to need to go and get evaluated by an appropriately skilled surgeon who can tell you what type of implant might be possible for you. Then you are going to need to talk to that surgeon (and perhaps some of his or her patients) about what your expectations can and should be.

    Only then can you and your spouse, together, make a decision about whether YOU and your spouse think this is “worth it”. No one else is going to be able to make that decision for you. And you are also going to have to accept that it may turn out not to have been.

    I hope this helps you a little.

  68. Dear Amy:

    I am a 75-year-old stage 4 prostate cancer person. Personally I believe I can live a long time with positive thinking. I am basically a positive person.

    My problem is my wife. She is 55 years old and she hates her situation with me. She keeps saying it was a mistake to marry me. I don’t blame her, but it was her decision. We have a 20-year-old daughter in college.

    After all of these years suddenly she feels this way. I feel bad for her. She gets angry with me. She calls me useless, stupid, and lazy. I feel bad about this. Now I feel I should end my life because there seems to be nothing I can do for her.

    Please advise.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Jake:

    First and foremost, I don’t think ending your life will provide a good solution for anyone. Your daughter will probably be scarred for life, and I am sure you don’t want that to happen. Your wife may feel very guilty (which may or may not matter to her or to you, but she may take it out on others). Third, I am assuming you’d like to see your daughter graduate from college and maybe even get married. Fourth, depending on your religious beliefs, this may be considered a sin.

    Now it may well be that your wife has decided that she made a mistake in marrying you, but this is not exactly the first time that two people have decided they are no longer compatible after 20 years of marriage. I don’t think you need to feel bad about this, and I also don’t think your wife needs to be so unkind about it. What you need is some professional help … at least from a professional counselor and maybe from a good lawyer. A lot obviously depends on (a) your ability to care for yourself if you have advanced prostate cancer; (b) your and your wife’s financial situation; (c) each of your relationships with your daughter; and (d) possibly a whole bunch of other stuff like who owns your house, etc.

    The first thing that I think you need to determine are what your priorities are, given this situation. It is impossible for me to be able to tell you what you “should” do. I just don’t have all of the relevant information, and I am neither a professional counselor nor a lawyer, but my bet is that (a) you don’t want to damage, let alone lose, your relationship with your daughter and (b) you want to make sure that there are sufficient funds available to ensure your own reasonable quality of life and at least help to cover the costs of your daughter’s education.

    So … I think you are going to have to start there, and if you can work out a way to make sure you can do those things, then perhaps you need to tell your wife that if she wants to leave then she is welcome to do so. But then there is going to be the issue of whether she can support herself, because you don’t want to have to dump that responsibility on your daughter.

    Life is full of curveballs. Some of them are no fun at all.


  69. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in late 2011 and received 40 radiation treatments in early 2012. As a result I have had erectile dysfunction ever since the radiation treatments were completed.

    I have been to a seminar and have read many articles about penile implants — to the point that I am trying to schedule mine in late Spring of this year. My wife and I have enjoyed a healthy sex life for 52 years but my ED has put a damper on some of the things we use to do.

    My questions are: will sexual intercourse be the same as before, and will my wife still be able to give me oral sex?

    I look forward to your response.




    Amy replied:

    Dear Wayne:

    I do not claim to have any personal experience of sex with a penile implant, so I may not be the best person to answer your questions. However, I can tell you the following:

    First, patient experiences with penile implants are well understood to vary considerably. Two very important factors are: (a) the type of implant that you and your surgeon are considering and (b) the skill and experience of the surgeon who is carrying out the implantation. There are surgeons who specialize in penile implantation and who therefore have considerable experience in the conduct of these types of operation. It would almost certainly be wise to work with such a surgeon.

    Second, sex will not be “the same”, although I know from at least some other patients that their and their spouses’ satisfaction with their penile implants has been highly gratifying to them. If everything goes well at surgery and you understand how to operate the specific type of implant you have been given in an appropriate manner, then sex should at least be “similar” to what it was before, but any orgasms you have are almost certainly going to be “dry” (with no actual ejaculation), and things will probably “feel” different for both of you. Of course there may be an “up” side to that after 50+ years!

    Third, I know of no reason why you shouldn’t be able to have oral sex. Again, however, this may need some adaptations to your prior experience and “techniques” depending on the type of implant.

    I would encourage you to do three things: (a) Make sure that your wife is fully “on board” with what you are trying to do (if you haven’t already), and that she goes with you to all discussions with the doctors. (b) Discuss all these details with your surgeon. He or she will probably have some very specific guidance to offer you, particularly in the first few weeks after the implantation has healed. (c) Have a look at the web site, which goes into a lot of detail about the different types of implant that are available, with their pros and cons. It also offers a discussion forum which would allow you and your wife to talk directly with others who have “been there” before you.

    Hope this helps a bit!


  70. Dear Amy,

    I am at a total loss, confused, and in pain. Women tend to be more open when it comes to cancer and our emotions, that’s not always the case when it comes to a strong-willed, private, proud man. We dated for 8 months, had a great sex life, despite a couple of ED problems. We were together the day before his surgery, everything was great. He elected not to tell me he had prostate surgery and totally shut me out. That was 10 months ago.

    I found out when I texted him two days later. He texted it was early detection, with a favorable outcome. I was devastated and hurt. I have texted him five times since that day and receive NO answer. The man in the deli at the locate supermarket probably knows more than I do. Of course I’m stalking him on Facebook. I saw a photo of him with his mom a month after his surgery. Shirtless and no visible da Vinci surgical scars. The second week of January 2021, he was hanging out with his guy friends. I was so glad to see he was out of the house. In one photo he is standing and the other shows him on the ground looking at a car tire. It was the last photo that caused me to break down. He’s put on 20 to 30 pounds. His hair is now grey, his skin pale and he looks so tired. We are both in our mid-50s.

    He has every right to his privacy and I have no choice other than to respect that, although I believe he’s being cruel. This is all about him and his well-being, but you know women, we are natural caregivers and want to make everything better. My texts are not novels, just the basic “I’m here, 24/7” and make sure I sound like a friend, not a lover. My last text was mid-November.

    I have a Catch-22 going on here. If I don’t text him, he may think I’ve moved on. If I do text him I could push him further away. Some of my friends think I should forget about him and move on. If he’s out with his friends, he should make time for me. I think there’s more to it. Others say hang in there. I have no way of knowing what he’s going through. Could all this be about him not being able to get and keep an erection? Who cares!

    Why am I the only person being left out and pushed away?


    Amy replied:

    Dear Missy:

    I am sure that this isn’t easy for you. You will probably never know what has gone on in his head or why. All that I can tell you is that the reactions that individual men have to prostate cancer and it’s treatment can seem very strange … not just to their wives or girlfriends or partners, but to others who they know too.

    Has it crossed your mind that you may be either the only person or one of very few people who he has told? It’s possible that even his mother doesn’t know.

    My sense is that you need to just “walk away” from this. If he decides to contact you again, then you can decide whether you want to do something about this, but for the time being he seems to have just “shut down” and you aren’t helping yourself by trying to be something he doesn’t seem to want (at least at present).

    On top of that, you need to appreciate that this is all a key component of his personality. He has been unable to reach out to you — even in the smallest way — when dealing with something really serious. That’s not a good sign for a long-term relationship. It doesn’t really matter “why” this has happened. What matters is that you need to accept that it has and move on.

    I’m sorry to be blunt like this, but I can only tell you what I think is right for you.


  71. Hi MissyB,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. My husband of 27 years opted for a radical prostatectomy 7 years ago, so I have seen much of the before and after the process. I am grateful for all who share here and for Amy’s responses. They have immensely blessed me to not feel so isolated through it all, especially since this issue is intensely personal. We are still happily married.

    I wanted to reach out because I am impressed with your selflessness to make the relationship more than an erection, or a possible loss of one. I would suggest that before you call it quits with him, make sure he knows that you are sincere about this. The support that you could provide him, and each other, to get through this likely worst time of his life can bond you together and help him with the awful physical, mental, and emotional toll this can take. Help him understand that you see more in him than cancer or an erection.

    You have probably read here that men can have many diverse reactions to this situation. Cancer alone is a life-changing event, but the potential of also taking away something that can define a big part of manhood can be devastating. In your situation, I would not rule out the very real possibility that he is trying to deal with this situation without dragging you down. He may not want you to feel that you have to settle for no erection or for the hardship that he has been going through. He may want to see what you want, or what kind of person you are, if you are all about the erection or not.

    Right after the surgery, my husband wanted to be so numb from the pain that he wanted me to make sure he was unconscious with pain killers and never let them wear off. If they do wear off, patients fighting pain may do and say things that are of course affected by the pain (physical and emotional) in anger, or silence. He may have no idea what to say. He may already feel like you have written him off because he was resting and unconscious a lot after the surgery, and you were removed. You may not have known to text and leave kind messages anyway. It is hard to know to send a little gift, but everyone eats and also likes comforting other tokens of support. It is very hard to know what to do at all. My man also suffered for months with physical nerve pain in his abdomen as a surgical side effect, so there was no exercise and there was weight gain. That was later lost and hair can be dyed.

    We are all terminal. Living like we are dying is understandable, but I say live like we are living. Enjoy the time we have here, because it goes by fast. I say make sure he knows for certain of your unconditional love of him, like you said, with or without an erection, because he may have no idea and not even believe you. Love is a choice and a very active verb.

    Ocean P

  72. Amy,

    My husband had a prostatectomy 3/5 and because of a perforated ileus had emergency surgery 2 days later. I’m relieved we have gotten through hopefully the worst but I’m concerned. I’m angry all the time. I’m not typically an angry person. I’m a retired first grade teacher and I don’t understand why I am so angry.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Elaine:

    One of the problems with us all being “locked away” in our homes for most of the past year is that we have less access to all of the normal ways of diffusing our irritation and anger. It is likely (I think) that you used to have easy access to a whole lot of friends and acquaintances who you could talk to if you were upset about something. Now that access is restricted, and it may be that you feel you will be imposing if you call them on the phone to talk about things like this (as opposed to it just coming up over a cup of coffee).

    In all honesty, I don’t think you should feel bad about feeling angry. Someone made a mistake in carrying out your husband’s surgery. This happens, and it is possible the surgeon may feel just as bad about this as you and your husband do. Of course it is also possible that the surgeon in question is a jackass who should be taken out and ….

    So, what to do? Some people would rush off and see a lawyer to see if they could get money as compensation for the medical error. I’m not sure that sounds like you. Some people would like to just be able to sit down with the surgeon to ask “What went wrong?” so that the surgeon could apologize without it all turning int a lawsuit. Unfortunately, many hospitals don’t seem to appreciate that this can be very therapeutic for all concerned. They worry about anyone having to admit that there was an error. Some people may just need to feel angry until they can let it out of their systems. Maybe even telling me is a way for you to do that!

    It’s OK that you feel angry — for a while. The real question is how you want to deal with the anger. What you can’t afford to do is let it fester for too long. That just isn’t very productive. It sounds like the medical/surgical problem is solved. So that is the most important thing after all.

    Does this help at all?


  73. I have prostate cancer and we are in the beginning stages of deciding treatment options and my wife will not stop giving me advice and looking every possible thing up. She has told most of her friends and they are all giving their two cents on the matter and even going as far as trying to set up phone calls with different doctors they know to give more advice. I feel like a lab experiment and everyone is poking me and prodding me and no one is actually listening to me when I say I want to take it down a level and just breathe.

    I know she just wants the best for me and cares but it’s stressing me out and causing me to lose sleep and have extremely high anxiety levels throughout the day. I don’t wanna make her feel bad but at the same time I want her to back off and I don’t know how to say it so she doesn’t feel hurt. She is also two months away from having our fourth baby so that just adds an extra layer of concern about dealing with this gently. What can I say or do to get her to give me some space. She isn’t allowed to go to the doctor with me because of COVID and so she wants to be put on speakerphone for all my visits and I just feel like I have no privacy anymore and what I want is a relevant because the cancer is more important than my personal space.


    Amy replied:


    I think you need to tell you wife …. with a BIG smile … that she needs to focus on having a healthy baby and let you focus on the prostate cancer while you both promise to tell each other about anything really important!

    She is being over-“motherly”, but you can’t tell her that. You can, however, tell her that if she is spending all her energy stressing out over you, then she can’t possibly be giving enough attention to looking after herself and making sure she has another fine, healthy baby!

    Hope that helps!


  74. Hi Amy ,

    My name is Tommy , I had a radical prostatectomy and now my penis is inside me, I took Viagra and it didn’t come out enough. What else can be done?


    Amy replied:


    The only reasonable suggestion that I can make is that you go and see a urologist who specializes in penile/urinary function. I can understand the problem, but neither I nor Arthur have a good answer for a question like this, which appears to have been an extreme consequence of your surgery.


  75. Is it OK to give my husband oral sex after a TURP? He does not have prostate cancer. They removed a small part of it as he has been a truck driver for 25 years and was retaining urine. He’s three weeks postoperative and feeling pretty good. Finally. He’s not at all sure what will happen but wants to try.

    Thank you in advance for your time and comments.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Penny (and husband):

    I am not aware of any reason why you shouldn’t be able to give hubby oral sex if he has fully recovered from the TURP. However, he might want to double-check with his urologist — just to be on the safe side!


  76. My husband had his prostate removed since then we have tried to have sex but when we do he leaks urine inside me I am not crazy about this it turns me off. Don’t how to handle this. Help!


    Amy replied:

    Dear Sharon:

    The situation you describe is known, medically, as “climacturia“. It is actually a fairly common side effect of a radical prostatectomy.

    The link above (see the later pages) gives you some information about how it can be managed under certain circumstances. However, the simplest and most effective process –unless your husband is leaking a lot of urine — would be to try using a condom. It’s far from being a perfect solution, but it does at least offer you a possible way to address your immediate concerns while you and your husband explore the other possibilities. You and your husband might want to see if there is a specialist in male sexual medicine somewhere near wherever you live.


  77. I am undergoing radiotherapy on my prostate. Out of 20 I have 7 to go. I have a burning sensation when urinating. HOWEVER, …

    My penis has shrunk prior to and even more so during radiotherapy. It is very very embarrassing when lowering my clothes and at first I asked the nurse not to be so enthusiastic but different nurses (male and female) expect to see at least a head. My penis migrates into my scrotum never to be seen again unless I need to pee! One nurse said it will grow back — ha ha I thought 😆 — but I then sensed how women who have breast removal and had implants after.

    Is it true that my penis (I never was endowed; 5″ was my best erection and I didn’t measure it) will remain as its going? I have 5 adult kids and 12 grandchildren. I have lived alone for 18 years, separated and bank of dad stuff. No intercourse. Plenty of WANNABEES but …. Used porn to release but now I have prostate cancer it seems inevitable that my last was my LAST! I found this site by chance and hope there is another site for lonely 62-year-old women who have lost, in a similar way, to me and women.

    Thanks for allowing me to release a small portion of my position and I await for any response upon many a MAN (rough tough hard masculine or obverse).

    Thanks, Mike 😊


    Amy replied:

    Dear Mike:

    There seem to be several different things going on here, and I think you need to clearly separate them into different boxes.

    First, there is the matter of your penile shrinkage. You need to discuss that with your urologist. There are things that can be done about this, but whether any of them would be appropriate for you is impossible for me to tell. What I can tell you is that recovery of a normal sized penis is unlikely if your penis had started to shrink like this before the radiotherapy was even started.

    Second, there is the matter of your sexual functionality. Again, this is something you need to talk to either your urologist or — better — a physician who specializes in male sexual medicine. There are things that can be done about this too (up to and including penile implants), but what might be appropriate in your case is impossible for me to tell you.

    Third is the issue of loneliness and lack of companionship. Frankly, you are the only person who can do anything about this one. So … clean yourself up, make yourself interesting and charming, and tell yourself that any time anyone asks you to go anywhere, you will (even if it doesn’t sound particularly interesting). You never know who you might meet! But if you go “hunting” for “the right person” the chances are low that you will find one. On the other hand, if others find you interesting you might discover that one of them finds you!

    Last but not least … you are going to have to accept the realities of the situation and understand that some things have and are changed forever. If you spend most of your time feeling dejected about this, you won’t be able to get past your current situation. You have 12 grandchildren to offer wisdom to. Focus on that!


  78. Hello Amy,

    I have been with my husband since we were 17 years old. Married at 27 and raised a well grounded, intelligent young lady. I should have everything I need to be happy but I find myself very depressed, bitter and feeling an extreme amount of guilt.

    My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. It was caught early just by fluke, routine blood tests. We were both shocked and devastated to say the least, but we count our blessings in that there was no spread and he had a radical prostatectomy and did not require radiation or chemo. His recovery went quite well; we are very blessed but he refuses to talk about it. He doesn’t seem bothered by it at all really and lives his life very normally. His world is his job that’s all he does is work and when he’s not working he talks about work 24/7. He goes to bed early and up early. I’m a night owl and sleep in.

    Short of it is that I’ve never felt so emotionally disconnected from him. I feel very lonely and I’m only 47 years old. He “claims” he tried the pills they give but that it did nothing and neither one of us are interested in the injection option. We have had a rocky marriage in our early days. Many break-ups and back together. We finally got to a happy place. We seemed to connect and communicate better. We were very happy and then prostate cancer threw everything down an abyss. Am I supposed to live without sex for the rest of my life? I love him more than anything. He’s my best friend. I married for better or for worse through sickness and in health but I’m very lonely and haven’t had sex in over a year now and I’m starting to think this will be my new normal. I feel so guilty to even have thoughts of maybe leaving. That’s not fair to him either. I feel completely sad and lost.



    Amy replied:

    Dear Unanimous:

    I so wish I had an instant solution to your problem. I hear it over and over again. And to date I have no good solution.

    Of course the problem is only partly the prostate cancer. The underlying problem is really the communication issue. Your husband either won't or simply can't talk about what is going on, and he either won't or can't acknowledge the effect it is having on you. So he is avoiding the whole thing by immersing himself in his work as a displacement activity. (This is, at least, one step better than simply sitting on the couch and sulking about it.)

    He — and of course you — probably need some professional help, from a psychologist, and preferably from a psychologist who has experience with this post-prostatectomy problem. Such psychologists do exist but they are not always easy to find.

    Your husband almost certainly is terrified by his "failure to perform", which has deep effects on his self-valuation as a "man". And you, very reasonably, are concerned by what feels like the end of your sex life. You are both going to have to find ways to make some compromises — and that's going to mean talking to each other about all this — in my view, preferably in bed and naked! But the psychologist may be able to help you do that.

    However, I want to be very clear with you about something. … You are completely entitled to feel very depressed and bitter. In contrast there is NO reason for you to be feeling an extreme amount of guilt.

    You have lost something very important to you. Just as your husband has lost something very important to him: his prostate and his associated erectile and sexual function. You need to work together to find ways for him to regain his sense of ability to “be a man” and for you to recover a sex life. It will not be the same as before but it doesn’t mean you can’t find a happy compromise … and, bluntly, if you need some “toys” to help with this, then go get some! But above all you have to find a way to talk about this between you. He has to be able to tell you why he is avoiding the problem, and you have to be able to tell him how he can help you too!

    My bet is that if your husband was to put half the effort he is putting into his work to finding new ways (well, new to him, albeit well-understood) of give you sexual gratification, this problem could be relatively easily solved — ideally with a good deal of joy and laughter too, On the other hand, if your husband is unwilling to deal with the problem at all, then that is going to present a different set of issues that would also have to be discussed.

    What your husband is NOT allowed to do is simply ignore reality. What you are NOT allowed to do is think that the only form of sexual gratification you can enjoy is what you and he used to be able to do together.


  79. My husband has just found a small tumour in his prostate. He is having a biopsy in ten days. He said to me we have to have as much sex as we can as he may never be able to again. I understand he is panicking but I have such a low libido I am struggling. I try my best to have sex for him but I am finding it’s a lot of pressure and all he says to me is you hate me don’t you.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Lucy Ann:

    First and foremost …. since your husband hasn’t had a biopsy yet, there appears to be NO PROOF whatsoever that he has prostate cancer at all. All the the doctors will have been able to tell him is that he is at risk for prostate cancer or some other prostatic condition.

    Second … even if he is diagnosed with prostate cancer (after the biopsy), he may not need any immediate treatment at all (or ever), and so his hypothesis that he “may” never able to be able to sex again is a distinctly shaky one. More than 50% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer today are usually advised that they just need to have their disorder monitored, with no need for any immediate treatment. This is because they have a “low-” or “very low-risk” form of the disorder. If that turns out to be your husband’s situation, he may be able to go on having sex with you for years (on a reasonable schedule)!

    Third, you are not responsible for any of this and you are perfectly entitled to say “No” to him if what he wants to do sexually is beyond your reasonable expectations and capacity. You are right. He is panicking, and his claims and behavior are unreasonable. His statements that “you hate him” are beyond reasonable comprehension.

    Now, having said those three things, I am in no position to tell you how to react under the circumstances because I have no insight into the nature of your relationship with your husband. However, I do think you need to see if you can find a way to get him to calm down. It might help if you were to go and see the doctor together if you can, because I suspect your husband hasn’t “heard” what he was actually told by the doctors and is reacting to a bunch of rubbish that he found on line!

  80. I’m worried. Although my husband loves for me to message his prostate. I’m worried it has caused him to have ED.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Angela:

    I have limited knowledge of all the possible causes of ED. However, I have never heard that regular massaging of the prostate would cause such a problem! It is much more likely to be a problem of your husband’s increasing age. Maybe some of those well known “little blue pills” would solve his problem!


  81. Welcome to the Wive’s Alternate Sex Reality Club, you never wanted membership in. Porn and the internet are used by many man (millions) upon facing sexual performance issues.

    The course of events often goes like this:

    Prostate Cancer
    Avoidance of intimacy/avoidance issues, due to ego
    Venturing online to obtain some sort of male sex connect via Porn.

    It’s not a new story. It’s not a new creative ending. Creativity would depend on that intimacy having greater need than verification of masculinity.

    There have been and will be millions of men who react to their lack of function in this manner.

    It is difficult to acknowledge that it never was about intimacy, but rather a drive that is a biological and a procreation urge that — in his mind — is all about his masculinity. Only highly enlightened individuals/men fully see this and push forward in concern for their partner.

  82. I have a question for any woman whose partner has survived a radical prostatectomy with absolutely no impairment to his sexuality. How do you feel about your partner’s dry (no semen, no sperm, no prostatic fluid) orgasms? Do you miss cum? Is it an issue for you?


    Amy replied:

    Dear Isabella:

    I think it may be important to remember that even if the partner in question “has survived a radical prostatectomy with absolutely no impairment” to his erectile function, he may still be distressed by the impairment to his orgasmic functioning, i,e. “no semen, no sperm, no prostatic fluid”, and this can affect his interest in sex.

  83. Truthfully, I didn’t know any man survives a radical prostatectomy with no impact to erectile function. Lack of semen, while sad, would be the least of our problems. I haven’t had sex since 2012, and I was only 54. At this point I can’t even get a hug from him. Those “in sickness or in health” vows can be very cruel.


    Amy replied:

    So there is a SMALL percentage of men who will state that their ability to have good erectile function (the same as or closely similar to whet they had before) after a radical prostatectomy. However, I am NOT aware of any study that has ever asked this question of both the patient himself and his partner! One might get slightly different answers from the two participants!

    Equally, research into what can be done psychologically to help men recover their sexual self-confidence when they discover that they have lost much of their erectile function is largely absent. We do not encourage men or their partners to think very hard about the needs of the partner after a man loses his erectile function. And — in general — many couples are unable to even talk about a lot of this because we are largely discouraged from these types of sexually related conversation, and many couples seem to believe that it is the woman’s responsibility to satisfy the man but that the reverse doesn’t apply (which from an entirely female perspective was never something I believed in while my husband was still alive)!


  84. Hi Amy.

    Diagnosed with prostate cancer October 2019, biopsy x 3 plus I’ve had 20 sessions of radiotherapy in June this year 2021.

    COVID delayed my fast input into the system, So I’m about 18 months late. Cannot get erections, but have found prostate cancer sufferers porn. I don’t get a full erection but, like all men, the physical act of watching puts me on the edge of ejaculation. Only a dribble exuded once when I did go over the edge, but, this must have been pressured by my testicles and the colour was yellow/clear paste. Can you recommend a visual with mental video so that I can achieve one last powerful ejaculate, which makes my top of inner thigh (lymph gland I assume) right leg really pump. I attend Velindre cancer hospital and it seems likely that I’m going to have to undergo the mechanical excise of the whole prostate. I am very scared. I live alone and have normal male release urges.

    My regards,



    Amy replied:

    Dear Mike:

    Alas … I cannot help you with your request for stimulating videos because I don’t watch them! Sorry!

    I don’t know who you are seeing at the hospital you mention in Wales, but I think what you really need is to speak with a sub-specialist in urologic oncology. The use of surgery as a salvage treatment after radiation therapy is rarely recommended because this is a difficult and complex procedure with a relatively high level of risk for side effects. It is usually only carried out by sub-specialists who have extensive experience in executing this type of surgery.

    I think you should also talk to someone at the hospital about some psychological help because your fear and other concerns are clearly affecting your quality of life. I would expect a specialized cancer center like this to have a psychologist available who could talk with you about the matters you are raising.

    Hope this helps a little.


  85. Hi Amy,

    My husband had prostate surgery a lil over 3 months ago. I recently discovered he’s been relying on “the internet” to look at women on numerous sites (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, porn sites, dating sites, and escort sites). I’m so beyond hurt and furious but please continue reading to understand why.

    Several times now throughout our 36-year marriage I’ve caught him looking at other women. He’s never talked to me about his desires to do it and the last time we even went to therapy after catching him doing it while I was lying right next to him in bed. Every time I would move he’d react to “hide” what he was looking at. I finally caught him doing it one day and confronted him and I agreed to go see a counselor to work through this at his request not mine.

    He had every opportunity to come clean about it all and explain the truth behind why he was doing this again, etc. Did he just love looking at other women (like most men do)? Did he feel he needed to because I didn’t satisfy his needs? The list of questions are long. The outcome of the therapy was he promised he’d never do that again, It was just stupid. He realized he hurt me emotionally. He didn’t need to do that, Etc., etc., etc. So I thought we were okay.

    Fast forward several years. When the cancer diagnosis happened and the talk of surgery came up he was presented many opportunities to discuss any and all concerns about anything concerning sex. He would just simply say “he” or “we” were all set. He would tell me it meant more to know he was going to live and sex was not a concern.

    So again fast forward back to today … I’ve discovered so many things he’s been doing and it goes back to even long before his surgery. Basically it obviously never stopped. He’s looking at stuff while we are relaxing in the same room and even touching himself if he believes I’m not looking (if I’m completely involved in what I’m doing). At night, he’s waiting for me to fall asleep so he can do it while laying right next to me in our bed! He brings his phone with him everywhere he goes, including the bathroom, and I know he isn’t using the toilet. It’s like an obsession.

    If we had discussed this truthfully at therapy we could have talked about it. We could have come to an understanding together and decided what was best for both of us. Instead he just keeps getting caught and continues to lie about it every time.

    I’m not going to lie and say that him looking at other women on so many different sites doesn’t hurt because I’m crushed on so many levels, but the worst part is the betrayal he’s created by hiding it and lying to me. I don’t know what to do anymore.

    If he hadn’t been doing this before the surgery as well (like I mentioned I don’t think it ever stopped — I just believed he had) I may of just tried harder to understand he was trying to see if he could regain feeling, etc. But it has been going on prior to the diagnosis and surgery and it hurts so vastly. He has destroyed a part of me that I don’t know I can recover from. I’ve got so many mixed emotions about this. I’ve even considered a divorce. There’s no trust left. I feel like I will never believe him again with anything he tells me. He had every opportunity to talk to me about this either alone or with the help of a professional. I’m extremely easy going to speak with and we have been through so much in our 36+ years of marriage. I’m beyond devastated.

    When I confronted him again this time, he did what he always does and lied and played dumb. I told him I had proof so don’t lie to me. He confessed to some but not all of what I knew at this point. I told him I wanted to know everything he had been up to and to please just be honest with me. He still continued to choose to lie. The next day he swore he told me everything and asked me to please go back to counseling to work through it, I had opened his eyes (this time) and he wanted to fix it. He lied again. He left out several other sites he’d been looking at including escort sites and included our area of the state we live in. How can I ever trust him again. How? Why would he continue to do this to me? Why can’t he just be truthful. If I confront him on something I discovered his go to is to say he didn’t; he didn’t want to hurt me; he didn’t tell me because he didn’t want me to think; … etc. The excuse list is long too.

    His biggest go to right now is he was only doing it because he wanted to see if he could feel anything again. My response — he could have asked me. We could have figured it out together. I was open to any conversation about it. But what about prior to this time frame, what was his excuse then? He doesn’t know. He gets nothing out of it! Those are the responses I get. I know this is more than prostate surgery issues but the conversations are similar and I’m desperate to understand him. I’m so lost and confused about where to go from here. I love him but I’ve lost all trust. There’s so much more I could write a small book about it but I’ll stop with all this. It’s just gone to far. He’s crossed the boundaries WE agreed on, not just me, and if he agreed only to satisfy me that’s his problem for not being truthful when he had the opportunity. He could have come to me to discuss this any time he wanted to.

    I look forward to hearing any feedback from you or others who read this (men and women). I’m also going to post on Arthur’s page so I can get more of the male perspective too. Thanks.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Kaz:

    I am sorry to disappoint you, but if I — or Arthur — had any real comprehension about why men do this, we would have been sharing it with people for years. All we are really clear about our minds is that it seems to be a continuation of a very common form of male fantasy life that often starts in their teens and may continue throughout their lives.

    Can we explain it? No.

    Can we tell you why he is apparently unable to be honest with you about it? No.

    Are you the only “victim” of this sort of male behavior? Absolutely not.

    Does it make sense to anyone? Not that we can tell.

    What can you do about it? Well that’s a whole other subject that I know possible answers to, but I have no evidence that any of them work and nor does Arthur. We have discussed this.

    This CAN happen exclusively as a consequence of prostate cancer treatment, but in fact that is uncommon. A very high percentage of men just like looking at the bodies of less than fully dressed women!

    The only really important question here, in fact, is whether you are able to just put up with the combination of him doing this and — worse still — lying to you about it. That’s a question only you can answer. Neither Arthur nor I can help you with that. And Arthur would only tell you exactly what I have just said.

    Again, we WISH we could give you a good answer to all these questions. We have been asked them in multiple forms multiple times over the years — but we still have no good answers.

  86. Amy,

    Thank you for your record keeping, your empathy, your diligence in keeping a written blog helping others find a way, a new route to follow if they will to cope with pain, loneliness, anger, fear, and all the other attributes that affect us in our relationships after changes are made in our man human after prostate cancer changes our lives.

    I am 53 years old and am now recovering from a radical prostatectomy from 2 weeks ago. Because I have read your blog I am more aware and will have conversations with and be more open with my wife regarding her needs and our intimate lives.

    My wife is amazing!! 30 years married and barrels of tears, laughter, and standing by each other in the different strokes of life.

    I have learned so many things from this blog that I never have considered or have ever been discussed with me. May you be blessed in your efforts to ease the burdens of those who come to you with troubled minds and need just a small boost of positive understanding.

    I give you 5 stars and two thumbs up

    Sincerely Bob (who just started the journey)


    Amy replied:

    Thank you Bob. What a kind thing to say. I hope thongs go well for you and your wife for many years to come.


  87. HI AMY.





    Amy replied:

    Dear Deb:

    I hate to have to say this, but I don’t think there is ANYTHING that I can do to help here. The problem is that your husband is being selfish and unreasonable. He seems to be telling you that YOU are expected to do something to solve HIS problem but that HE isn’t willing to do anything to help … and he has to be perfectly well aware of your situation, so he should know better.

    Now obviously I know nothing about the precise nature of your and your husband’s relationship, but what I do know is that you shouldn’t be feeling guilty and he should be behaving the way he is. Somehow you both need to be able to have a conversation about this, but that conversation is going to have to be based in reality and not on his wishful thinking.


  88. Well, at times, I get depressed.

    On reflection, surgery was a huge mistake. I’d rather be intact. It’s almost as if I’m not really, fully alive and instead dream of dying. When my wife heard about the PC, she wanted it cut out. If not for her I might be intact. I would have had years of life. If it.caught up to me, then I could have dealt with it as it arose. Now, I’m neither alive not am I dead.

    I can tell you what I am however; I’m a watery, weak loser.

    Honestly, I blame her.


    Amy replied:

    Dear Jonathan:

    You are not going to like what I am going to say to you, but … This was YOUR prostate cancer, not your wife’s. This was YOUR body, not your wife’s. If she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and you had told her NOT to have surgery, do you think she would have said, “Yes dear”.

    Many men with prostate cancer end up regretting the decisions they make about how they should get treated. And a lot of them do indeed do what their wives or partners or other family members tell them that they think the patient should do. However, in the end, this is a decision that each patient has to make on his own, along with the best medical advice he can get from his doctors.

    Am I sorry that you decided to have surgery and that you now regret this. Yes I am. You aren’t the first man to feel this way and you won’t be the last. And I feel sorry for every single man who realizes after the event that he made a decision that wasn’t the right one for him. However, blaming your wife because you did what she suggested as opposed to thinking hard and coming to your own decision is unreasonable. She was entitled to her opinion, but you were the one who let her make the decision for you. I have no doubt that you will be unhappy about what I am telling you, but if you don’t get beyond feeling bad about all this and blaming your wife, you are only making yourself into the “watery, weak loser” that you describe.

    Both Arthur (of “Ask Arthur”) and I have said this to patients a thousand times before. When you decide what you want to do about the management of prostate cancer, every decision comes with significant risks. Many of them have serious impact on the patient’s quality of life. Once you make that decision (whether you made it yourself or you want to believe that someone else made it for you) you need to understand that looking back and blaming someone else for what is — in the end — YOUR decision, is neither helpful nor in the slightest way productive.

    Are you entitled to feel angry about having made a poor decision in your individual case? Of course you are. But it is time for you to bite the bullet and accept that this was YOUR decision to make and NOT your wife’s.

    I am sorry to have to be so blunt, but maybe this will actually help you.


  89. Hi Amy,

    I just began dating a man who had his prostate removed related to bladder cancer diagnosis & treatment. I feel silly asking this, but we’ve just started exploring te sexual side of this new relationship and I have some questions. If he has to use injections to get hard, does this mean he cannot feel a blow job or hand job? If we are making out does he still get “jittery” and feel that in his sexual organs? Any further help will be appreciated. Thank you!


    Amy replied:

    Hi Laura.

    So … interestingly … I don’t remember anyone ever asking me that before, and I don’t THINK there is a general specific answer. In other words, acts of intimacy like that, for a man, seem to be as much about the fact that they are happening at all as the actual degree of individual response.

    I would assume that since your newly-acquired boyfriend is capable of getting a fully functional erection by using penile injections, he almost certainly does get some lesser degree of response from just touch in any form — it just wouldn’t be enough for him to be able to actually have intercourse with you. So I think that this is one of those cases where you you might have to do a little exploring and/or just ask him whether those things are something he’d like to try so that he can tell you how he feels if and when you do!


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