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Question from a caregiver

Posts: 17
Joined: Aug 2010

So here is a very embarrassing question. I am the primary caregiver of my dear husband. He had his surgery in May to remove the affected testicle and has already been through 2 rounds of chemo. The doctors have told us we can totally have sex as long as he feels up to it and we use condoms so he doesn't pass on the chemo drugs to me. Here is my question. My husband has told me that he really has not been very interested in sex since chemo began, which I totally understand and have learned to accept. The problem is that he shows no real intimacy at all, no hugging, kissing, cuddling. The second part of the problem is that even though he says he is not in the mood, I have noticed that he is watching porn on the internet. Normally I don't care how much he watches, as long as our sex life is ok. I am a little hurt that he turns me away but has enough energy to watch porn. So, how do I approach him in a loving way? I know he is sick so I don't want to upset him or get into a fight, but I don't think I can hold this in until October, when treatments will hopefully be done.
Any advice guys?

Davepet's picture
Posts: 92
Joined: Dec 2009

It's totally normal for the sex drive to dip during chemo. The drugs really take a lot out of you. I don't recall being especially interested in hugging, kissing, or cuddling, either. I just felt too lousy most of the time, although I wouldn't shrink away from any of it if it was offered.

Sounds like he's always been a internet porn watcher & you've always been aware of that, so nothing new there. That takes a lot less effort than actually having sex with a partner, so don't be too concerned until he's done with treatment for a few weeks to a month. Everything should eventually get back to normal.

Hang in there,

Posts: 17
Joined: Aug 2010

Thanks Dave
That makes me feel better.

tkrumroy's picture
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2010

Here's what's happened to me but you may not want to generalize it to your husband. Since my surgery I've watched myself become "less of a man". I have come to terms with loosing the testicle, but my attitude has been dipping recently. I find myself becoming more clingy to my wife, while not doing my old manyly things like carrying her up the stairs.

I'm not sure if in the back of my head im thining "i must be half a man" so i begin to act like it as well, but he may need soem compliemnts from you about how you still think hes hot. or let him make some decisions even if its something like where to go out to eat. and if the dog at the house gets in trouble, let him be the one to discipline him.

I know it sounds kind of pathetic lol, but its something im currently struggling with and i have found it come across recently in my personality.

or it may be as simple as it being easier to rub one out sittign infront of a computer and not having to worry if he has done the job right ;)

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2010

This story sounds fairly familiar to where I was less than a year ago. My surgery was a year ago October, and there were (and still are, gotta admit) a whole slew of issues both physical and mental that needed (Ok, fine. Still need) to be worked through.

I have lost a testicle. That's a big deal in my mind, if nowhere else.

I have a giant scar running across my pelvis. That's a big deal in my mind, if nowhere else.

I was being pumped full of poisons. No matter how large the likelyhood of me walking away from treatment a survivor is, there is a chance that this cancer could kill me. This is a big deal and is not just in my mind.

These are all things that made it very difficult for me to be intimate with my wife. Even the non-sexual part for fear that it would start leading to sex and then I would have to go, "You know what? This isn't working."

The porn? Much easier than interacting with a person who is actually in the room. The person on the screen can't react poorly to seeing how "deformed" I am.

My advice, try talking to him. Let him know that you don't care about the surgery remnants. Try to find out what specifically it is that is bugging him. It might be the same stuff that gets to me, it might be something totally different. I have to say that if it is hurting you, you are well within your rights to let him know.

slapshot_81's picture
Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2009

I started my treatment, 3 rounds of BEP, a year ago last Thursday (11/19/2009 to be exact). I felt great during the first 2 rounds. My sex drive didn't change much. After I started the 3rd round, I honestly had no interest in sex, I was extremely fatigued. The effects from treatment was catching up to me. All I wanted to do was sleep. At work I would go into my office after lunch, close the door and nap for about an hour. After a few weeks it started to bother my wife, I just did not have the energy or the drive to be intimate. She is also a cancer nurse so I did get lots of compassion. It probably took a good 4-5 weeks after my treatment was complete before I started to get my energy back and feel more intimate. Your body goes through a lot of changes and stress during chemo.

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