Below the Belt: Results From the Sex & Intimacy Survey
We asked the community how prostate cancer has impacted their sex life and relationships. Over 280 respondents, including both survivors and caregivers, anonymously reported how they’re coping. Guess what they said in this interactive quiz:
New romantic partners
How soon did most respondents recommend telling a new romantic partner about prostate cancer?
A quarter of respondents recommended bringing prostate cancer up when first talking to a new partner, while 16 percent said to mention it after a month or two. 45 percent1 of respondents not in monogamous relationships said they try to hide their erectile dysfunction from potential partners. 45 percent1 also said they fear prostate cancer will scare a new date away.
There's a different right time for everyone - or perhaps never a "right time" at all - but ideally, your partner will want to understand what you're going through, and how you can make it work together.
Talking about it
What percentage of patient respondents felt comfortable talking to their partners about physical changes?
From the partner perspective, 29 percent2 of partners and spouses did not feel comfortable talking about physical changes. These conversations are a two way street. Some partners may wait until their partner with prostate cancer brings it up themselves. Whether you're a partner or someone living with prostate cancer, it's better to talk about changes before they come between you.
What percentage of caregiver respondents said they were open to talking about their sexual needs?
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Partners can be active in the conversation
Interestingly, 40 percent1 of caregiver respondents said they work together with their partner to figure out what satisfies them and 40 percent2 said they did not, while 20 percent felt neutral. Many conversations about sex after prostate cancer focus on the patient/survivor, but in a partnership, both parties are impacted.
When discussing problems and solutions, make sure partner caregivers are encouraged to discuss their sexual needs. Sexual desire isn't static; if you're able to work together, you can discover new things that satisfy you both.
Learning new tricks
What percentage of patient respondents said they were more open to trying new things when it came to sex or intimacy?
Don't get us wrong, there's nothing good about prostate cancer. But one surprising consequence for some men is a newfound openness to talking about and experimenting with sex. When we asked what respondents wanted to try, they listed everything from toys to oral sex to additional partners. Of course, once again it takes (at least) two to tango. Make sure partners are a part of the process.
Want to discuss further? Check out the forum below (only your username will be visible to others) or comment with your thoughts!
Have you had urinary control since prostate cancer surgery?