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Coming back

User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 08:23

Nine and half months after radical prostatectomy, I can feel my erectile function slowly coming back ... a quarter of an inch at a time, so to speak 😁. I am so grateful - it is like meeting an old friend I haven't seen since before the first lockdown.

What's confusing from a relationship perspective is the way my rather tentative re-emerging erections seem to prefer solo attention. Simply put, it is easier to get and maintain an erection through masturbation than in partnered sex - where the spirit is most willing but the flesh is a little slower to respond. After decades of loving sexuality in our marriage this has been disconcerting to say the least.

It's as if the nerve connections do better direct from penile sensory to erectile, without passing much through the brain. That glorious feeling of hugging my wife and feeling a swelling down below has been the slowest to return. 

Anybody else notice something similar? 

User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 10:09

I think that's normal. No matter how well you know a partner, performing for two rather than for just yourself, particularly when you're still practicing and less certain of the outcome, is going to be more pressure on you. It's just a matter of building up confidence, and that will come with more practice by yourself and recovery.

It's likely PDE5 inhibitors will help at this stage too, if you aren't already on them (Sildenafil/Viagra, Tadalafil/Cialis, etc), and if they do, that will help with confidence too. You should be able to get these prescribed.

Anyway, congratulations on the progress - keep it up...

Edited by member 13 Dec 2020 at 10:10  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 11:43

Hi Mish,

What you describe pretty much mirrors my experience. And Andy's right, you might not think it, but there is a bit of pressure to perform (I see that now in hindsight). I'm taking tadalafil, but I do my best to forget that I've taken it. I realise now that taking something for the event just fuelled my expectations and led to disappointment (I'll try again now I'm over a year post op).

Erections for me aren't like pre-surgery in that they're not spontaneous and not rock hard. I've got to be really turned on and need a hand to get going, (my OH is happy to help or watch me do it). 

For me, this part of my recovery has been painfully slow and at times frustrating, but I am definitely making progress and it seems you are too, so keep going and enjoy trying. 

Good luck. 

Kev.

 

 

Edited by member 13 Dec 2020 at 12:14  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 15:14

I am Nearly seven years since supposedly non nerve sparing RARP. In the the last six months I have noticed what I would describe as the start of a spontaneous erection, it doesn't get any bigger, but I can flex what is there. 

Stimulation may need to go to another level to achieve tumescence. There is a saying two hands are better than one, I find three hands are better than two.

Thanks Chris

User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 15:48
This post interests me as although with my wife I can now get rock hard in 5 mins , when I’m on my own I can rarely masturbate successfully. I’m still on daily 5mg Tadalafil and use a simple ring but the results are amazing 5 1/2 yrs on. But on my own .......

This is quite frustrating as you can imagine.

If life gives you lemons , then make lemonade

User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 20:13

Chris,

I think this suggests a fantastic level of love and intimacy with your wife.

There are ways to enhance arousal, something you clearly don't need with your wife present. I started writing some suggestions here, but

a) I've seen you suggest many of them anyway, and

b) there's always a risk that these things might damage a relationship, and you definitely don't want to do that, and I don't want a hand it that either, so I decided not to post them.

Cheers, Andy.

User
Posted 14 Dec 2020 at 13:03
Now 5 years post OP, 4 years post divorce, 3 years into a wonderful relationship with my new wife. Only just got to the stage where I can truly relax about sexual encounters.

Do not under estimate the influence of self doubt on your performance especially just one year after the OP.

User
Posted 21 Dec 2020 at 12:53
Obviously it doesn’t work with everyone but I really think maintaining a low dose of Tadalafil is excellent idea. I take mine at night and really quickly started getting morning wood. But remember I wasn’t given it until a year after surgery. You still are very early days , so if you can get it then I would take it honestly. And keep the pump going each day even if for just rehab. And plenty of hanky-panky is what makes the drugs work. Slowly slowly catchy monkey ok. And heh many ways to pleasure each other in the meantime. Good luck

If life gives you lemons , then make lemonade

User
Posted 25 Dec 2020 at 22:58

Hi there - been nearly 2.5 years since my surgery (RALP). I was stage T3B. I had a magician of a surgeon from the Marsden (nhs). I am 63.

So everything you have experienced so far is very similar to me. My surgeon told me it’s all about patience and finding out what works for you (and of course your partner). I went onto ciallis - it certainly helped the physical elements. I fully believe masterbation, in my case, was fundamental to recovery. I tried a pump it’s was ok, it hurt a little, I looked at the pump from the perspective of training the ‘old fella’ and get the blood circulating to its nether regions. It took me 2 years of ‘training’ to get to the stage of worthwhile penetrative sex. My orgasms were fantastic but due to the surgery did loose length and some hardness. No after mess is a real plus!. I had to sharpen up my foreplay technique to ensure my partner had fun too!! 

It’s important to keep your mind open and absorb suggestions made on here as we’re all different and subject to extent of cancer invasion and skill of surgeon to save your nerves.

Some men are in very difficult situations and it’s for this reason I say recovery is also about mental challenges and the role of your partner. The role of partner is so important in understanding this journey.

User
Posted 17 Jan 2021 at 08:28

Very grateful to report continued slow progress! After nearly eleven months, it is bit like losing my virginity all over again - only more delightful without all the youthful angst there was the first time.

Just for the record, my stages of recovery have gone from only getting hard with the pump and for about a minute after releasing the vacuum, to retaining hardness for extended periods after pumping. Now with lots of erotic stimulation I can sometimes get fully hard with just the cock ring - in other words my natural erectile ability can slowly build up hardness provided I have the ring to retain all the blood that gets in. Still a bit iffy and unreliable but VERY encouraging.

What has helped and continues to help is daily focused pelvic floor exercises. Not just "do your Kegels" but specifically the muscles at the front of the pelvic floor. Sometimes it feels almost like tensing the same muscles that spasm during orgasm. And although I thought it was an impossible task, my physio told me to practice these pelvic floor exercises with (at least a partial) erection. So I have been pumping it up, then keeping the ring on and either I or my wife stimulating my penis while I go through the muscle exercises. What it is doing is providing the solid base for my erections, and steadily reducing the "hinge effect" from the pump.

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User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 10:09

I think that's normal. No matter how well you know a partner, performing for two rather than for just yourself, particularly when you're still practicing and less certain of the outcome, is going to be more pressure on you. It's just a matter of building up confidence, and that will come with more practice by yourself and recovery.

It's likely PDE5 inhibitors will help at this stage too, if you aren't already on them (Sildenafil/Viagra, Tadalafil/Cialis, etc), and if they do, that will help with confidence too. You should be able to get these prescribed.

Anyway, congratulations on the progress - keep it up...

Edited by member 13 Dec 2020 at 10:10  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 10:49
Ask your GP to prescribe 5mg Tadalafil daily. If you are over sixty it’s free on the NHS, otherwise it’s a paid-for private prescription.

See how you get on with that.

Onwards and upwards!

Cheers, John.

User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 11:43

Hi Mish,

What you describe pretty much mirrors my experience. And Andy's right, you might not think it, but there is a bit of pressure to perform (I see that now in hindsight). I'm taking tadalafil, but I do my best to forget that I've taken it. I realise now that taking something for the event just fuelled my expectations and led to disappointment (I'll try again now I'm over a year post op).

Erections for me aren't like pre-surgery in that they're not spontaneous and not rock hard. I've got to be really turned on and need a hand to get going, (my OH is happy to help or watch me do it). 

For me, this part of my recovery has been painfully slow and at times frustrating, but I am definitely making progress and it seems you are too, so keep going and enjoy trying. 

Good luck. 

Kev.

 

 

Edited by member 13 Dec 2020 at 12:14  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 15:14

I am Nearly seven years since supposedly non nerve sparing RARP. In the the last six months I have noticed what I would describe as the start of a spontaneous erection, it doesn't get any bigger, but I can flex what is there. 

Stimulation may need to go to another level to achieve tumescence. There is a saying two hands are better than one, I find three hands are better than two.

Thanks Chris

User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 15:48
This post interests me as although with my wife I can now get rock hard in 5 mins , when I’m on my own I can rarely masturbate successfully. I’m still on daily 5mg Tadalafil and use a simple ring but the results are amazing 5 1/2 yrs on. But on my own .......

This is quite frustrating as you can imagine.

If life gives you lemons , then make lemonade

User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 20:13

Chris,

I think this suggests a fantastic level of love and intimacy with your wife.

There are ways to enhance arousal, something you clearly don't need with your wife present. I started writing some suggestions here, but

a) I've seen you suggest many of them anyway, and

b) there's always a risk that these things might damage a relationship, and you definitely don't want to do that, and I don't want a hand it that either, so I decided not to post them.

Cheers, Andy.

User
Posted 13 Dec 2020 at 20:24
Cheers Andy , I don’t think there are many places our relationship hasn’t been these last few years. Yet we’ve realised the only place we truly belong is together !

Strange old journey this , and it stirs up more and more the further it gets. We have been lucky with our strong committed marriage I’m sure.

If life gives you lemons , then make lemonade

User
Posted 14 Dec 2020 at 13:03
Now 5 years post OP, 4 years post divorce, 3 years into a wonderful relationship with my new wife. Only just got to the stage where I can truly relax about sexual encounters.

Do not under estimate the influence of self doubt on your performance especially just one year after the OP.

User
Posted 21 Dec 2020 at 07:55

Originally Posted by: Online Community Member

I think that's normal. No matter how well you know a partner, performing for two rather than for just yourself, particularly when you're still practicing and less certain of the outcome, is going to be more pressure on you. It's just a matter of building up confidence, and that will come with more practice by yourself and recovery.

It's likely PDE5 inhibitors will help at this stage too, if you aren't already on them (Sildenafil/Viagra, Tadalafil/Cialis, etc), and if they do, that will help with confidence too. You should be able to get these prescribed.

Anyway, congratulations on the progress - keep it up...

Thanks Andy! You are so right about building up - it is both the physical rehab and the relationship rehab that is needed. My wife and I had a very healing conversation this weekend about how my sexual function is just so vulnerable at this time. The very opposite of the crazy images of machismo out there. And we are finding that with practice, it is possible for really satisfying partnered sex. What helps is also using a ring that is even tighter than I ever imagined possible - provides the support to keep me "up" even through those dips in confidence.

User
Posted 21 Dec 2020 at 07:59

Originally Posted by: Online Community Member

Hi Mish,

What you describe pretty much mirrors my experience. And Andy's right, you might not think it, but there is a bit of pressure to perform (I see that now in hindsight). I'm taking tadalafil, but I do my best to forget that I've taken it. I realise now that taking something for the event just fuelled my expectations and led to disappointment (I'll try again now I'm over a year post op).

Erections for me aren't like pre-surgery in that they're not spontaneous and not rock hard. I've got to be really turned on and need a hand to get going, (my OH is happy to help or watch me do it). 

For me, this part of my recovery has been painfully slow and at times frustrating, but I am definitely making progress and it seems you are too, so keep going and enjoy trying. 

Good luck. 

Kev.

Thanks Kev - good to hear that we are not alone. I have read so much about how the drugs and pumps "just don't work" and wondering if some of those people are not just running into the challenges you and I have experienced. It takes a lot of persistence and strong partnership to navigate all the limitations you summarised so well. Definitely not a quick romp in the dark under the blankets.

User
Posted 21 Dec 2020 at 11:19

Originally Posted by: Online Community Member
This post interests me as although with my wife I can now get rock hard in 5 mins , when I’m on my own I can rarely masturbate successfully. I’m still on daily 5mg Tadalafil and use a simple ring but the results are amazing 5 1/2 yrs on. But on my own .......
This is quite frustrating as you can imagine.

Thanks Chris! Fascinating to hear that your experience is almost the opposite of mine. Maybe we can learn something by comparing experiences in a little more detail.  I tried the daily 5 mg Tadalafil for about 5 months without it apparently working at all for me, although I trust it helped with blood flow to the area. 

User
Posted 21 Dec 2020 at 12:53
Obviously it doesn’t work with everyone but I really think maintaining a low dose of Tadalafil is excellent idea. I take mine at night and really quickly started getting morning wood. But remember I wasn’t given it until a year after surgery. You still are very early days , so if you can get it then I would take it honestly. And keep the pump going each day even if for just rehab. And plenty of hanky-panky is what makes the drugs work. Slowly slowly catchy monkey ok. And heh many ways to pleasure each other in the meantime. Good luck

If life gives you lemons , then make lemonade

User
Posted 25 Dec 2020 at 22:58

Hi there - been nearly 2.5 years since my surgery (RALP). I was stage T3B. I had a magician of a surgeon from the Marsden (nhs). I am 63.

So everything you have experienced so far is very similar to me. My surgeon told me it’s all about patience and finding out what works for you (and of course your partner). I went onto ciallis - it certainly helped the physical elements. I fully believe masterbation, in my case, was fundamental to recovery. I tried a pump it’s was ok, it hurt a little, I looked at the pump from the perspective of training the ‘old fella’ and get the blood circulating to its nether regions. It took me 2 years of ‘training’ to get to the stage of worthwhile penetrative sex. My orgasms were fantastic but due to the surgery did loose length and some hardness. No after mess is a real plus!. I had to sharpen up my foreplay technique to ensure my partner had fun too!! 

It’s important to keep your mind open and absorb suggestions made on here as we’re all different and subject to extent of cancer invasion and skill of surgeon to save your nerves.

Some men are in very difficult situations and it’s for this reason I say recovery is also about mental challenges and the role of your partner. The role of partner is so important in understanding this journey.

User
Posted 05 Jan 2021 at 21:56

You can get free prescriptions at any age for 5 years post diagnosis as a result of cancer. Just ask your GP. I get taladafil 10mg and sildenafil 100mg on a regular basis with no cost. I cut the taladafil in half and take daily as they will not prescribe the 5mg daily dose. 

User
Posted 17 Jan 2021 at 08:28

Very grateful to report continued slow progress! After nearly eleven months, it is bit like losing my virginity all over again - only more delightful without all the youthful angst there was the first time.

Just for the record, my stages of recovery have gone from only getting hard with the pump and for about a minute after releasing the vacuum, to retaining hardness for extended periods after pumping. Now with lots of erotic stimulation I can sometimes get fully hard with just the cock ring - in other words my natural erectile ability can slowly build up hardness provided I have the ring to retain all the blood that gets in. Still a bit iffy and unreliable but VERY encouraging.

What has helped and continues to help is daily focused pelvic floor exercises. Not just "do your Kegels" but specifically the muscles at the front of the pelvic floor. Sometimes it feels almost like tensing the same muscles that spasm during orgasm. And although I thought it was an impossible task, my physio told me to practice these pelvic floor exercises with (at least a partial) erection. So I have been pumping it up, then keeping the ring on and either I or my wife stimulating my penis while I go through the muscle exercises. What it is doing is providing the solid base for my erections, and steadily reducing the "hinge effect" from the pump.

 
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