Selfless Sex - reBuilding Intimacy
In this final installment of Selfless Sex, it’s important to discuss building intimacy, and for some couples, we can say rebuilding intimacy. If you think for a moment of all the things you have been through as a couple due to prostate cancer, it's a good idea to take some time to focus on your relationship. For some couples, going through the fight together only brought you closer. For others, prostate cancer only made things more difficult. So, let’s get started. Some suggestions are fairly easy, where others may take a bit more effort.
Ways to rebuild intimacy
Open up. This can be hard for gentlemen to do. We may even view opening up and having deep conversations with our lover as a waste of time or even silly. Think about it this way...by sharing, it’s letting your lover know you trust them, and in relationships, trust is very important. Have a conversation about how prostate cancer affected your sex life, how you feel it affected the relationship, and/or how the diagnosis made you feel.
Show your love. From time to time, I like to cook a nice meal for my lady. It’s something I like to do. Little gifts are good too. Also, we like to hold hands when we’re out. Have you ever noticed how many couples don't hold hands? I’m sure you already do many things to show your love for your partner. Furthermore, there are three words than can make someone’s day. You can just say “I love you” from time to time.
Try to have fun. Laughter and enjoying life is a very important factor in any relationship. Include things like watching comedies or your favorite stand-up comedian. These are things you can do together. Don't forget about date night. That can be fun. Going to get your favorite food or having a fun evening out is always good.
Saying thank you. There is nothing wrong with saying ‘thank you’ and showing gratitude towards your lover. Besides being polite, saying ‘thank you’ to your lover lets them know they are wanted and appreciated. Such a small phrase has a lot of power.
Contact. Don't forget about “skin hunger.” We all desire touch and in some cases, we really need to be touched, even in non-sexual ways. One of the easiest ways to touch is to simply hold hands. Even while driving, just put a hand on your lover’s leg...be safe though. You can sit close to each other on the couch. Also, can touch while sleeping. When you are asleep, you may not be aware of it but your body still recognizes the contact. It’s all good.
Listen. In the evermore-distracted world we live in, take time to listen to each other. No phones, and turn off the TV if necessary. Focus on what your lover has to say. Talk. Have a conversation about something besides medicine, prostate cancer, doctors, bills and the like. This form of “oral sex” is a great way to build intimacy.
Time for yourself. While being with your lover is very important, you still have to take time for yourself and do things that make you...you! What did you stop doing due to prostate cancer? Was it an interesting hobby, or were you a member of a group or something like that? Your ol’ friends would be happy to see you. Taking time for yourself is a necessary part of self-care and healing. Life doesn't stop, and you shouldn't stop living, either.
Oh yeah...Sex! As you've been reading from the get-go, your sexuality may change from what it once was because of treatments and surgeries. Does your sex life have to stop? No, not at all. Throughout this mini-series, you have suggestions you can follow to pleasure your partner and, depending on the extent of your healing, also have fun yourself.
Your sex life isn't over
I hope you enjoyed reading the summaries of Selfless Sex. We’ll come back to these from time to time and take the topics in a different direction. Prostate cancer may have changed your sexuality, but I strongly believe your sex life is not over...far from it. Many people may have the same questions, so please feel free to post questions. Who knows...you may see Selfless Sex in long form, on a bookshelf one day. Thank you for reading, Dr. Nick.
Check out the other articles from the Selfless Sex Series:
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?