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Regaining Your Libido

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, is a necessary part of your sexual rehabilitation.

Surgery doesn’t affect libido directly, rather, the resulting physical trauma stymies your sexual recovery process. Libido, therefore, 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 were likely traumatized by the surgery. Note that nerve damage is slow to recover, and healing may be at different rates in different men. In any case, if you had a pretty good libido in the past, and an active sex life, you have a better chance of reclaiming sexual desire.

Adjusting to your new normal

While you might have previously become erect with only the mildest of sexual fantasies, your “new normal” requires 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. Erections lasting 30 to 60 minutes occur in around ten minutes.

Find what works best for you

You will likely also find manual stimulation, by yourself or your partner, essential to achieve an erection that will work for intercourse. If at first sex is not possible, bring yourself to a climax and experience the new “dry” orgasm. If you are going solo, you will 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, plus the drugs, 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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Dennis Golden moderator
    3 weeks ago

    I did well with Viagra following surgery and found I could achieve a decent erection about 8 weeks after the catheter was removed. I did have the benefit of nerve sparing surgery as the cancer was confined to the prostate.

    One issue I did experience was leaking just prior to and during sex. Depending on your partner you can use a condom to capture any leaks or if your partner is ok with some leakage you can ignore the issue and shower together after intercourse. Not all bad either. 🙂

    Exercise does help as far as leak control and they allow you to gain more muscle control – Personally I do Kegel exercises on a regular basis.

    For me the Kegel’s are 10 repetitious, 4 times a day. Best is when I wake up in the AM, again at lunch and then again at dinner. My last set is when I go to bed at night. Having a daily routine and triggers helps. I found those events acted as reminders for me.

    I find the same amount of pleasure with sex as before and do experience orgasm. So at least for me things are not all bad. Yes it is different that said I am still here and enjoying what life has to offer.

    The key for me at least has been to recognize that my life has been changed forever. I can not go back to when I did not have cancer. So I have 2 choices – Accept where I am currently or I can remember the good old days.

    Someone much smarter than me said ” You can not change the past … You can not tell the future … But you can live you life to the fullest every day and be aware of each moment” For me that quote has been my guiding principle – and so far its been working. … Dennis ( Moderator

  • Rod Ritchie moderator author
    3 weeks ago

    Thanks Dennis. Climacturia is the term used for leaking some urine during sex. Obviously, it’s best to completely void your bladder beforehand.
    Re the Viagra, do you still require it for erections?
    Living for the day is always the smartest move! Less stressful!

  • Dennis Golden moderator
    3 weeks ago

    No no longer on Viagra following my 40 radiation treatments along with Lupron – sort of killed things below the belt … Dennis( Team)

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