Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers that afflict men, and it can have devastating effects on their lives. One of the major effects is its impact on sexual function, which can lead to a sexless marriage. This can be a challenging time for any couple, and knowing how to cope is essential.
In this article, we discuss how prostate cancer impacts sexual function, examine the impact on relationships, and offer coping strategies for couples.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is a cancerous growth in the prostate gland, which is located near the bladder in men. It is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among men in the United States, second only to lung cancer. Prostate cancer can be treated if caught early, but it can also lead to a host of issues, including sexual dysfunction.
The Impact of Prostate Cancer on Sexual Function
One of the primary effects of prostate cancer is its impact on sexual function. This is because the prostate gland plays a critical role in producing semen, which is required for ejaculation. Prostate cancer treatment, including radiation therapy and surgery, can lead to a range of sexual dysfunctions, including erectile dysfunction and a decrease in libido. These issues can have a significant impact on a couple’s sex life and can lead to a sexless marriage.
The Impact of a Sexless Marriage on Relationships
A sexless marriage is one where the couple has little to no sexual activity. This can be due to several reasons, including medical conditions such as prostate cancer. The impact of a sexless marriage on relationships can be significant. It can lead to feelings of resentment, frustration, and even anger. The lack of intimacy can also cause feelings of loneliness and isolation. In many cases, a sexless marriage can lead to infidelity, separation, or divorce.
Coping Strategies for Couples with Prostate Cancer
Couples living with prostate cancer can take several steps to cope with the challenges they face. Here are some coping strategies that can help:
Open and Honest Communication: Maintaining open and honest communication with your partner is essential. Discussing the impact of prostate cancer on your sex life can be challenging but can help you both understand each other’s needs and limitations.
Seek Professional Help: Seeking professional counseling can help you with coping strategies, emotions, and sexual issues. You can consider seeing sex therapists who can help you navigate sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunction.
Be Patient: Coping with prostate cancer can take time. Being patient with each other and extending grace and compassion can go a long way.
Adopt New Approaches: There are several interventions that can help couples learn new ways of being intimate. These include sensate focus exercises, which are non-genital affection exercises that promote intimacy without sexual pressure.
Explore Other Forms of Intimacy: Intimacy does not always have to be sexual. Couples can explore other forms of intimacy such as touch, cuddling, and kissing, which can strengthen their bond.
Prostate cancer can be a challenging time for couples, particularly with regards to sexual function. However, couples can adopt coping strategies such as open communication, seeking professional help, being patient, and exploring new forms of intimacy. These can help maintain intimacy, strengthen the bond, and prevent a sexless marriage.
Remember, prostate cancer may impact sexual function, but it does not have to derail intimacy altogether.