By Cindie Hubiak
If you’ve experienced prostate cancer, you likely know all too well the disruptive side effects of the treatment process. Surgery and radiation can have a serious impact on a couple’s sex life and in some cases challenge the longevity of the relationship. For me and Steve that was certainly the case.
A study, recently published in an article by the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, revealed a promising finding however. Researchers discovered that married couples who underwent some form of counseling – either in-person or online – reported improved sexual function and satisfaction with sex.
According to the study, before counseling, only about 12 to 15 percent of men reported having minor erection difficulties, the rest reported more severe difficulties. After counseling, the number of minor difficulties increased to 36 to 44 percent. What’s more, at the one-year mark, men reported scores on the sexual function and satisfaction scale that were on par with healthy men who had not undergone treatment for prostate cancer.
What was perhaps most appealing about this study was both the husband and wife received counseling. This is incredibly important. Women experience their own host of emotions that also impact a couple’s intimacy. Both sides need to heal to achieve the same, or increased, level of intimacy pre-prostate cancer.
Talking About Sex
Everyone holds different beliefs about sex and has varying experiences around it, but one thing is common: we don’t talk about sex easily. Our society doesn’t encourage conversations about it, so we hide our beliefs, feelings, and experiences – never knowing if what we are experiencing is “normal.” Oftentimes this can put more strain on the sexual relationship.
We too had our aversions to discussing this issue with an “outsider” initially. But, for me and Steve it proved to be an invaluable step in our journey to living a thriving life. Our sex life began thriving after counseling. We started looking at sex differently and found many ways to reach sexual fulfillment. Often there is a lot of fear involved after prostate cancer. Talking with experts trained in sex therapy can help a couple’s sex life significantly improve after prostate cancer in the following areas:
- Opening the lines of communications
- Understanding sexual energy and how to harness it
- Deepening intimacy and sexual fulfillment
- Removing mental, emotional and energy blockages
- Understanding how sex enhances overall wellbeing
When seeking counseling, be sure to look for someone who is sensitive to your comfort level. It is essential to heal at your pace. We’re hopeful this study will encourage couples to seek assistance from knowledgeable people and start their journey to living a thriving life much sooner.
Have you sought some sort of counseling? Did it help? Please share your insights and suggestions using the comment form below.