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Sex after recovery

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2007

My partner is a survior of rectal cancer. He finished his treatments 9 months ago and it has been a full year since the ordeal started. He has lost all interest in sex. We go weeks, even months without having sex. I try to be as understanding as I can, but I don't know what to do to help give him back the "desire" to have sex. I know he's been worried about getting sick again and we have talked about it. Anyone have any suggestions, or experience with this?

Limey's picture
Posts: 447
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi Tailor. Sorry you are going though this in your life. Cancer is does not just effect the patient. partners and families are effected also. I am the patient and have had a stage II cancer that was a no brainer - easily will go away and all that good stuff. that was in Feb 2004

Today, I am stage IV metastatic, spread to my gut area which is much more difficult since it did not spread to an organ.

I stuggle daily with being sexually appealing. I am embarrased with my scars. frustrated with my desire and afraid to hurt myself by receiving. I can not imaging the fear and frustration with rectal cancer. it must be like having a big chunk of your penis removed and then worring if you do what you did in the past will the rest get removed.

I know many have made it through this. As a caregiver you are amazing for not bolting but staying and helping your partner through this. I am partnered to 20 years. we have 3 kids. 20, 9 % 5 (the loast boy came home last year). I used to be a workaholic and active in every way possible. Sex was a no brainer. My partner has had the patience of a saint. It has been months and months since sex. I need intimacy and he needs sex. He is afraid of hurting me and I am at the stage where the mental **** had taken its toll on me. We are both exhausted but we can't give up.

This has got to be extreemly hard for you. I know there are grief councelors that can help. Have you asked him what are his fears and tried addressing them. Many with rectal cancer are afraid of tearing the surgery. I can assure you, I am extreemly open with my doctor and he has assured me, he has heard it all and he also assured me they all were relevant and good questions. Asking questions gets you answers.

Recently my partner and I agreed to touching and holding with no expectations. Try letting your partenr know you want to touch, hold lick kiss etc... with not expectations for penetration. just mututal satisfaction. If he relearn a trust in pleasure, you may find the rest will come and it may be quite wonderful.
good Luck

Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2007

Boy can I relate! I had rectal cancer diagnosed in May '05, surgery to remove most of my rectum in Sep '05, radiation and chemo before surgery and chemo again after surgery. Things went pretty well and my partner and I had regular sex during the treatment, even though I had a temporary ostomy bag. Things changed after I finished treatment. Without realizing it, I sunk into a depression and my sex drive started fading. After about a year of lackluster sex, I went to my doc. Turned out my testosterone levels were very low and I was diagnosed as clinically depressed. I started taking testosterone gel and an antidepressant and seeing a counselor. Unfortunately, this was all too late for my partner and he walked out on me after 3 and a half years.

I went through some very, very difficult times but things are much better now. My sex drive is up, my erections have improved (although nothing will be the same as before) and my mood has improved dramatically.

I found that after my treatment stopped, I started thinking, now what? What if it comes back? Is my life supposed to be different now? All of this can be overwhelming. Your partner may not be voicing these concerns, but it's very possible he's going through exactly what I did.

Please don't abandon him in this time of real need. I'm sure he can pull out of it. I am so angry at my ex for leaving me the way he did knowing that I was suffering. Please work with him.


Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2008

I'm there right now I want some normality back into my life. Chemo has been so devistating and intrusive to every part of my body and life. It's been 7 months sence my life as I knew it stopped. I am just now at the point of just havins an intrest in sex w/ all the physiclal changes to my body. I plan to be intimate w/ someone soon just to start to regain parts of my life that chemo took.I want normallity again. Oh by the way I had stage 2 lung cancer w/ the removable of my top r lobe.

censation's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: Jun 2010

Reading these stories just makes me want to cringe I just recently went through anal cancer and if was the most painful thing I went through in my life the chemo and radiation was horrible and everything in my groin area shut down it felt like I was passing glass when I had a bowel moment I'm cancer-free today but the backkdoor is still recovering and I'm am horny now all the time and I'm ready, And I'm not sure if my partner is scared or just no longer have interest in me.What can I do to get to the bottom of this?

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2010

Hi censation - I'm sorry you've had to go through so much pain. I can only imagine that it must be horrible. I have been very fortunate that my cancer has not been painful physically, but it seems to have killed my libido. It's been a problem in that my partner wants to engage in sex, but i have just not had the energy or urge. But yet I'll wake up in the middle of the night feeling extremely horny and just wanting to get off! I'm not sure if it is as much psychological as physical. Maybe I'm just not in the mood or too preoccupied, but still have the biological urges inside. I wish I could be with someone who is experiencing the same thing and maybe together we'd be able to relate better. I would guess your partner is a little scared, and maybe also just doesn't know what to do. Have you tried talking to him about how your feeling or ask him how he's dealing with it? i know it can be hard, but it's usually the best thing you can do. Regards - Tom

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