A rose is depicted in three stages from grayed-out bud to colorful full bloom, representing the regaining of libido after the side effects of medical procedures.

Regaining Your Libido

Last updated: October 2022

Erectile dysfunction, along with incontinence, are two of the most common side effects of a prostatectomy. It is also the problem most feared by men as they contemplate life following surgery, particularly by younger men. And while older guys, with waning hormonal, sexual, and erectile function, may be less concerned, they are still keen to retain as much as possible of what is a big part of how they see themselves.

Regaining libido is part of sexual rehabilitation

While incontinence more or less resolves itself, impotence is the issue that requires you to exercise your brain as much as your body to reclaim your skills in bed. This is where regaining libido, also known as sex drive or sexual desire, can be an important part of sexual rehabilitation.

Libido is a mind game, and often a very complex one. Impotence is such an expected outcome of a prostatectomy, that many men are scared to undertake the mental rehabilitation necessary to regain their libido.

Libido is more than just taking a pill

Although drugs such as Cialis and Viagra are commonly prescribed, many men think that by just popping a pill they will get an erection. And, while nerve damage from the operation makes it harder to regain sexual normalcy, you’ll need to work on regaining your libido if you are going to regain your sex life.

Even if your nerves were spared in the operation, they may have been traumatized by the surgery. Note that nerve damage can be slow to recover, and healing may be at different rates in different men.

Adjusting to your new normal

While you might have previously become erect with only the mildest of sexual fantasies, your “new normal” may require a different mindset to overcome impotence. Don’t be hard on yourself; if an erotic mindset requires new mental imagery, or indeed pornography different from what you may have been used to in the past, then so be it.

In other words, experiment, forget your inhibitions, and find a level of sexual excitement that achieves results for you. If you are prepared to learn self-treatment, penile injection medications are another option, especially for those not successful in attaining sexual stimulation.

Find what works best for you

You may also find manual stimulation, by yourself or your partner, can help achieve an erection that could work for intercourse. If at first sex is not possible, you may try to bring yourself to a climax and experience the new “dry” orgasm. If you are going solo, you may need to regain your masturbation techniques and use them often because in this case practice makes perfect. And combine them with mental or electronic media stimulation to help restore your sexual function. Some men have this process down pat months out from surgery, but others find that it can take a couple of years, so be patient.

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