As a person goes through a cancer journey, any long-term relationship can experience fluctuations in intimacy and desire. Causes of decreased desire can vary from emotional issues to hormonal shifts to stress. Many people are horrified at the thought of the loss of libido. But I feel that men on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) may not always notice it is happening at first.
Less desire for sex
When I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, little did I know what lay in wait. It is also known as androgen suppression therapy, which is an anti-hormone therapy whose primary purpose is to treat prostate cancer.
It's only after a while that you realize that, although your nude partner still looks seductive, you just aren't interested in anything further. For me, it's not that difficult, but it can be very hard (excuse the pun) for her to feel that she is no longer desirable physically. Lacking desire does not mean you can't still give pleasure.
It simply implies that you should schedule some time to provide your partner with some of what they require (tender, loving care). If not, you may easily reach a situation where you feel like roommates.
After ADT, kissing my wife didn't feel the same
I originally had twelve months of ADT, which lasted about two years until my T therapy started to recover. By the end of that, kissing my wife felt like kissing my sister, and I found that quite sad and repulsive. It is easy, though, to fall into self-pity rather than appreciate what the other partner's perspective must be like.
I found it most difficult to comprehend and navigate this region. There was an inclination to agree while speaking with other men. I have not been able to regain normality during the past 12 years. Since my wife and I have talked about it, I know there is a feeling of betrayal. What I wouldn't do to regain our intimacy, like we had once before.
But the love of my life will still be my love
Unfortunately, while graded with advanced prostate cancer, it means I will be on ADT for life. However, I know this does not mean I can continue to ignore my wife. I'll have to maintain our relationship as a genuine partnership by staying self-centred.
The love of my life will still be my love. Lack of lust is merely the absence of becoming "horny." Hugs, kisses, and love will remain as important as ever, and maybe even more so. Losing interest in sex alone does not equate to losing interest in intimacy or emotional attachment.
Sex is not all there is
Unknown to me, hormone therapy has been the reason for my depression at times. Prostate cancer hormone therapy has caused issues with my thinking, focus, and memory. Talking with my doctor was not the best avenue to venture. Only a real specialist was able to help, as I found out. I promise you that a consultant with this kind of training is invaluable.
But, as my wife has always maintained, sex is not all there is to a relationship or marriage. In my mind, my wife is beautiful now and will always remain beautiful. It just takes more work. Will it be successful? I hope so.
Do you have ways of managing your mindset for big decisions?