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Emotional impact of the absence of sex life on female partner

User
Posted 27 Jul 2018 at 11:01

Hi


This is my 1st post on ANY chat site! a couple of my dearest friends are currently managing the hell that is living with an aggressive diagnosis of PC in their mid 50s. I am concerned about them both, but a heart to heart I had with her last night has prompted me to seek support for her. 


She is really struggling with her own emotional/ sexual needs which result from the lack of a sex life now. She is too embarrassed to seek advice herself as she feels ashamed to be needing help for her own issues. But we shared how very little help there is for the emotional impact for either of them. And that as she is the partner and its about the impact of the lack of sex ON HER that makes her situation excruciating for her. guilt, shame, embarrassment frustration......


 


 


We tried to support her, but she said she'd love to be able to share her feelings, and possible solutions with women in the same position. Maybe a new specific group for such women in this topic area? I thought if I got the ball rolling I could tell her and enable her to access this if anyone feels they can help? She feels too embarrassed to reach out herself. 


Thank you.


Carol Anne

User
Posted 29 Jul 2018 at 21:11

My Wife and I had support from a specialist MacMillan nurse who dealt mainly with the sex/intimacy/relationship issues. She was excellent and we got everything back on track albeit in different ways. I have no libido but we still “have” sex and enjoy intimacy but it’s hard work. It is however worth it because without it we would just be friends

User
Posted 27 Jul 2018 at 13:48

Hello Carole Anne and welcome to the site.


What a friend you are.


However, your friend need not feel embarrassed to become member on here.


She doesn't need to give any personal details and can choose a user name that is completely unconnected to her so it isn't likely that she will meet up with anyone she knows.


There are many wives and partners on here,many of us having to deal (or having dealt) with what your friend is currently going through.


Her husband is probably wrapped up in his own feelings and/or dealing with his treatment (is he on hormones?) and that is quite understandable.


Life doesn't completely stand still for any of us and a man or woman in their 50s is quite likely to need the comfort that sex brings.


Does your friend talk to her husband about it at all or is she bottling it up. Does her husband speak to her about it?


You will find many on here who will say that even if he can't "perform" like he used to, there is more than one way to skin a cat. You just have to be open minded about it and be able to talk about it.


Unless there is communication between them the situation will never be resolved.


We don't have enough information about her husband ie what his treatment it how he feels about sex etc.


As for your comment and I quote "And that as she is the partner and its about the impact of the lack of sex ON HER that makes her situation excruciating for her. guilt, shame, embarrassment frustration......"


She really does not have to feel like this.


She needs to accept that life has changed for both of them, but that doesn't mean that she has to completely close her mind to her own needs. Why should she? We can't change our physiological make up and our desires.


We can suppress them for a while but all that produces is frustration and in the end, resentment, which in turn will increase the feelings of guilt because she'll think she should be more supportive of his needs and more understanding of his lack of desire.


We don't have a special section on here for wives and partners, probably because we all know that we can come on here, have a rant, ask for (and receive in spades) support and understanding for US.


We have a hard row to farrow, we wives and partners.. We tread a fine line in supporting the other half, but should not lose sight of who we are. Otherwise we'll no longer be strong enough to give that support.


Please ask your friend to join for herself and she'll discover just how much we care.


Prostate cancer changes all our lives (believe it or not, some will tell you for the better because it makes us stop and think about the things we previously took for granted).


Life doesn't end. It just has a new "normal".


If the pair of them could only talk to each other about their needs they may find that they can work through this and regain some of what they think they have lost


Best Wishes To them and well done you for caring enough to try and find help

Edited by member 27 Jul 2018 at 13:54  | Reason: Not specified

We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 27 Jul 2018 at 16:41
I’ve just been Soooo lucky to have a totally open relationship with my wife. I find it hard to imagine a married couple not being able to talk about sex etc , yet many women have posted and are rightly so frustrated. In some ways our love and closeness and inventiveness and lack of embarrassment actually allowed us to have a shed-load of fun that would shock a teenager lol. I’m not cured , and it took mostly 3 yrs to get a useable erection back , but I bet we have more fun than most 51 year old couples !!!

If life gives you lemons , then make lemonade
User
Posted 28 Jul 2018 at 10:45

Francij there is a heartbreaking description of loss of libido on this forum somewhere, written by a young man on HT. I will try to find it but he described looking at his wife and realising that he felt exactly the same as if he was looking at a lump of concrete. Can you imagine touching, stroking and trying to passionately kiss a lump of concrete while pretending that you really mean it? The partner can tell very quickly that it is forced and that reduces the pleasure significantly.


In our case, J did make attempts to begin with but with no libido, the intimate acts actually seemed distasteful or bizarre to him (as trying to hump a lump of concrete would seem to you) and so it seemed cruel of me to ask that of him. I think it is fair to say that until you have loss of libido there is no way to imagine what it is like.


Carol Anne, your friend can join here or the Facebook group (either will give her a safe place to express her feelings and think of coping strategies) but try to avoid the big American site for wives which has some extremely polarised views. And if not already done so, suggest she reads my ‘one wife’s story of ED’ thread?


http://community.prostatecanceruk.org/posts/t9839-One-wife-s-story-of-ED


 

Edited by member 28 Jul 2018 at 10:59  | Reason: To add hyperlink

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard
User
Posted 27 Jul 2018 at 14:35
There is a “ wives only “ Facebook page for women with prostate cancer afflicted partners. I’ll ask her and get back to you. It’s a private group where women can vent and share advice etc. Good luck

If life gives you lemons , then make lemonade
User
Posted 27 Jul 2018 at 16:56

Type this in


Prostate cancer wives - talk and support group.


It’s a closed group so may take a day to be accepted. My wife is on it. It’s great for wives to discuss their own fears , frustrations, etc. 

Edited by member 27 Jul 2018 at 16:56  | Reason: Not specified


If life gives you lemons , then make lemonade
User
Posted 28 Jul 2018 at 10:10

Doesn't say if she has but she really needs to tell him what she wants. As I have found myself in the last 3 years of PC, divorce and dating  if the relationship is worth saving you really have got to be able to have these tough discussions.


While I have not had to suffer the "fun" of hormone therapy I cant believe (happy to be told I am wrong on this! ) that even if a guy has zero sex drive he couldn't respond to a request for some serious loving from a desperate partner???  I get it that its not going to be a hard penis but I am sure he could use his imagination! 


Now if the guy us to ill to be thinking about anything then maybe your friends feelings of guilt are appropriate and she should take a cold shower and give the guy some time to get better? ?

User
Posted 01 Aug 2018 at 22:35

Hi - I understand how concerned you are for your friend. We are eight years down the road since diagnosis and although some of the hormone treatments resulted in an absence of any physical relationship we did have periods of normality in "rest"  times. Sadly treatments have had to be changed so that now there is no possibility things can be normal but our relationship has in some ways become closer.  We are older than your friend but had hoped that life would continue as it always had. The emotional side is tough and the love  has to be strong and you have to adapt your life and enjoy every moment you have together. Hugs and hand holds become more special and you can show love in many ways as long as you are honest with each other and are prepared to value the time together and find new adventures to share. From a physical point of view there may be times when the need for pleasure has to be self given and there are many ways to improvise on this. I don't think we would approach a third party about this but there are specialist counsellors who can help.  I hope your friend can share her feelings with her husband. It is a very testing time but it is possible to get through it. 


 


 


 

User
Posted 02 Aug 2018 at 20:50

Thank you. 


I do hope your friend can come to terms with the changes that may happen. Life can still be wonderful but in a different way.


After living with this for eight years, we have had to go step by step. Yes we miss the life we had and we did enjoy a normal married life. It is different now but I love my husband even more now if that is possible. You change, you adapt and you let go and there are days you long for the time before cancer but you appreciate each day together,  you learn to laugh even when things are tough, and you develop mindfulness without even trying.


Tell your friend to think of this period as a period of grief with all those feelings that come and go. I don't know how things will progress but life can still be good.

User
Posted 04 Aug 2018 at 21:51

I seem to remember Lynn saying a piece of concrete


What I really was said was if I seen a young girl walking down the street NAKED it may as well be a bag of CEMENT


No sex activity at all, no desire or activity, presumably due to taking hormones.and Chemo and RT

Latest News


Thought about a "bucket list" on diagnosis.
Despite having the time and means to do many things......just can't be bothered.....
Apathy......
Apath

Apat

Apa

Ap

A

.

See what I mean and you are worried about sex

 

Try facing death

Edited by member 04 Aug 2018 at 22:10  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 05 Aug 2018 at 13:54

I'll probably not be posting again as I've handed the info over to my friend now. 


I know they are also dealing with the prospect of death Barry. My understanding is its an aggressive form of cancer and he has had a radical form of surgery which means the traditional sex act is no longer on the cards. 


The point you make is relevant, and its why my female friend has felt unable to reach out for support around her own needs. She feels guilty but that doesn't make her needs go away. I hope she will be able to gain support within these groups. 


Warmest wishes

Show Most Thanked Posts
User
Posted 27 Jul 2018 at 13:48

Hello Carole Anne and welcome to the site.


What a friend you are.


However, your friend need not feel embarrassed to become member on here.


She doesn't need to give any personal details and can choose a user name that is completely unconnected to her so it isn't likely that she will meet up with anyone she knows.


There are many wives and partners on here,many of us having to deal (or having dealt) with what your friend is currently going through.


Her husband is probably wrapped up in his own feelings and/or dealing with his treatment (is he on hormones?) and that is quite understandable.


Life doesn't completely stand still for any of us and a man or woman in their 50s is quite likely to need the comfort that sex brings.


Does your friend talk to her husband about it at all or is she bottling it up. Does her husband speak to her about it?


You will find many on here who will say that even if he can't "perform" like he used to, there is more than one way to skin a cat. You just have to be open minded about it and be able to talk about it.


Unless there is communication between them the situation will never be resolved.


We don't have enough information about her husband ie what his treatment it how he feels about sex etc.


As for your comment and I quote "And that as she is the partner and its about the impact of the lack of sex ON HER that makes her situation excruciating for her. guilt, shame, embarrassment frustration......"


She really does not have to feel like this.


She needs to accept that life has changed for both of them, but that doesn't mean that she has to completely close her mind to her own needs. Why should she? We can't change our physiological make up and our desires.


We can suppress them for a while but all that produces is frustration and in the end, resentment, which in turn will increase the feelings of guilt because she'll think she should be more supportive of his needs and more understanding of his lack of desire.


We don't have a special section on here for wives and partners, probably because we all know that we can come on here, have a rant, ask for (and receive in spades) support and understanding for US.


We have a hard row to farrow, we wives and partners.. We tread a fine line in supporting the other half, but should not lose sight of who we are. Otherwise we'll no longer be strong enough to give that support.


Please ask your friend to join for herself and she'll discover just how much we care.


Prostate cancer changes all our lives (believe it or not, some will tell you for the better because it makes us stop and think about the things we previously took for granted).


Life doesn't end. It just has a new "normal".


If the pair of them could only talk to each other about their needs they may find that they can work through this and regain some of what they think they have lost


Best Wishes To them and well done you for caring enough to try and find help

Edited by member 27 Jul 2018 at 13:54  | Reason: Not specified

We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 27 Jul 2018 at 14:35
There is a “ wives only “ Facebook page for women with prostate cancer afflicted partners. I’ll ask her and get back to you. It’s a private group where women can vent and share advice etc. Good luck

If life gives you lemons , then make lemonade
User
Posted 27 Jul 2018 at 15:24

Thank you so much Johsan and Chris for your speedy responses. I feel so grateful to think my friend can access support from people in the same boat as her. I will let her know what I have done. the Facebook page sounds like a greta resource. 


Her partner has dealt with the devastating blow brilliantly on so many levels, but I don't believe they are able to talk about this aspect of things.

User
Posted 27 Jul 2018 at 16:41
I’ve just been Soooo lucky to have a totally open relationship with my wife. I find it hard to imagine a married couple not being able to talk about sex etc , yet many women have posted and are rightly so frustrated. In some ways our love and closeness and inventiveness and lack of embarrassment actually allowed us to have a shed-load of fun that would shock a teenager lol. I’m not cured , and it took mostly 3 yrs to get a useable erection back , but I bet we have more fun than most 51 year old couples !!!

If life gives you lemons , then make lemonade
User
Posted 27 Jul 2018 at 16:56

Type this in


Prostate cancer wives - talk and support group.


It’s a closed group so may take a day to be accepted. My wife is on it. It’s great for wives to discuss their own fears , frustrations, etc. 

Edited by member 27 Jul 2018 at 16:56  | Reason: Not specified


If life gives you lemons , then make lemonade
User
Posted 28 Jul 2018 at 10:10

Doesn't say if she has but she really needs to tell him what she wants. As I have found myself in the last 3 years of PC, divorce and dating  if the relationship is worth saving you really have got to be able to have these tough discussions.


While I have not had to suffer the "fun" of hormone therapy I cant believe (happy to be told I am wrong on this! ) that even if a guy has zero sex drive he couldn't respond to a request for some serious loving from a desperate partner???  I get it that its not going to be a hard penis but I am sure he could use his imagination! 


Now if the guy us to ill to be thinking about anything then maybe your friends feelings of guilt are appropriate and she should take a cold shower and give the guy some time to get better? ?

User
Posted 28 Jul 2018 at 10:45

Francij there is a heartbreaking description of loss of libido on this forum somewhere, written by a young man on HT. I will try to find it but he described looking at his wife and realising that he felt exactly the same as if he was looking at a lump of concrete. Can you imagine touching, stroking and trying to passionately kiss a lump of concrete while pretending that you really mean it? The partner can tell very quickly that it is forced and that reduces the pleasure significantly.


In our case, J did make attempts to begin with but with no libido, the intimate acts actually seemed distasteful or bizarre to him (as trying to hump a lump of concrete would seem to you) and so it seemed cruel of me to ask that of him. I think it is fair to say that until you have loss of libido there is no way to imagine what it is like.


Carol Anne, your friend can join here or the Facebook group (either will give her a safe place to express her feelings and think of coping strategies) but try to avoid the big American site for wives which has some extremely polarised views. And if not already done so, suggest she reads my ‘one wife’s story of ED’ thread?


http://community.prostatecanceruk.org/posts/t9839-One-wife-s-story-of-ED


 

Edited by member 28 Jul 2018 at 10:59  | Reason: To add hyperlink

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard
User
Posted 29 Jul 2018 at 09:12

Thanks to Fancij  and LynEyre for responses. My friend is away just now! I have texted her to say I have something to show her when she gets back. I am sure she will get onto the support sites now that we know where they are. Even knowing the peer support is out there should help.


I wish everyone here the very best as you manage this awful life situation. 

User
Posted 29 Jul 2018 at 21:11

My Wife and I had support from a specialist MacMillan nurse who dealt mainly with the sex/intimacy/relationship issues. She was excellent and we got everything back on track albeit in different ways. I have no libido but we still “have” sex and enjoy intimacy but it’s hard work. It is however worth it because without it we would just be friends

User
Posted 31 Jul 2018 at 10:58

Thank you fro your response Tony!

User
Posted 01 Aug 2018 at 22:35

Hi - I understand how concerned you are for your friend. We are eight years down the road since diagnosis and although some of the hormone treatments resulted in an absence of any physical relationship we did have periods of normality in "rest"  times. Sadly treatments have had to be changed so that now there is no possibility things can be normal but our relationship has in some ways become closer.  We are older than your friend but had hoped that life would continue as it always had. The emotional side is tough and the love  has to be strong and you have to adapt your life and enjoy every moment you have together. Hugs and hand holds become more special and you can show love in many ways as long as you are honest with each other and are prepared to value the time together and find new adventures to share. From a physical point of view there may be times when the need for pleasure has to be self given and there are many ways to improvise on this. I don't think we would approach a third party about this but there are specialist counsellors who can help.  I hope your friend can share her feelings with her husband. It is a very testing time but it is possible to get through it. 


 


 


 

User
Posted 02 Aug 2018 at 10:49

Thank you Gilly! I've not seen her since starting this conversation and I think/ hope she will really value these forums.


Warmest wishes to you and your partner and all in this group. 

User
Posted 02 Aug 2018 at 20:50

Thank you. 


I do hope your friend can come to terms with the changes that may happen. Life can still be wonderful but in a different way.


After living with this for eight years, we have had to go step by step. Yes we miss the life we had and we did enjoy a normal married life. It is different now but I love my husband even more now if that is possible. You change, you adapt and you let go and there are days you long for the time before cancer but you appreciate each day together,  you learn to laugh even when things are tough, and you develop mindfulness without even trying.


Tell your friend to think of this period as a period of grief with all those feelings that come and go. I don't know how things will progress but life can still be good.

User
Posted 03 Aug 2018 at 08:51
Brilliantly put Gillyj


**************
We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 04 Aug 2018 at 13:55

Thanks to everyone who has responded with such a lot of support and help. My friend is back now so I am telling her about this resource and handing over to her!


 


http://community.prostatecanceruk.org/Scripts/tinymce/plugins/emoticons/img/smiley-wink.gif

User
Posted 04 Aug 2018 at 21:51

I seem to remember Lynn saying a piece of concrete


What I really was said was if I seen a young girl walking down the street NAKED it may as well be a bag of CEMENT


No sex activity at all, no desire or activity, presumably due to taking hormones.and Chemo and RT

Latest News


Thought about a "bucket list" on diagnosis.
Despite having the time and means to do many things......just can't be bothered.....
Apathy......
Apath

Apat

Apa

Ap

A

.

See what I mean and you are worried about sex

 

Try facing death

Edited by member 04 Aug 2018 at 22:10  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 04 Aug 2018 at 22:37
Barry, important point well made but it wasn't you I was quoting.
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard
User
Posted 04 Aug 2018 at 22:52
Concrete/ Cement there is not a lot to chose between them.
X
User
Posted 05 Aug 2018 at 13:54

I'll probably not be posting again as I've handed the info over to my friend now. 


I know they are also dealing with the prospect of death Barry. My understanding is its an aggressive form of cancer and he has had a radical form of surgery which means the traditional sex act is no longer on the cards. 


The point you make is relevant, and its why my female friend has felt unable to reach out for support around her own needs. She feels guilty but that doesn't make her needs go away. I hope she will be able to gain support within these groups. 


Warmest wishes

 
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