A sex life after disease. The loving isn't over.
Sex is no primary need to stay alive. You won’t die if you don’t have sex. But the quality of life seems to be so much better when you have a great sex life. At least people like to talk more about how great their sex life is. But what if your sex life is in trouble? Do you talk as much about it then?
People who have a disease often have trouble “making love”. Their body feels different, their minds follow.
What if there is a lack of sex? Just because it hurts or you won’t get it up anymore? Or just don’t feel anything? When you start to feel insecure about your body?
Every year there are a lot of people who have to face this problem. Most of the time after they found out they are sick or after suffering from a disease.
This concerns men and women of all ages. Mostly people with diabetes, heart- and vascular diseases, Multiple Scleroses or men and women who had cancer. Often they are tired, less sensitive or feel pain and that causes (besides the emotional damage) the lack of sex.
I come across those people every day at work at the rehabilitation centre and we talk a lot. Very personal talks often. And one of those talks concerns sex or even better, the lack of sex.
For most people it's hard to talk about , but when you open up and people and they know they can talk to you without their personal affairs being ridiculed or their trust in you harmed, they open up too.
I’ll give some examples here.
A 70 year old man had a heart attack and three years later he also had a bypass. After that he couldn’t have sex anymore. He was just too scared. Too scared to get another heart attack while he was having sex. So scared he didn’t get it up. We talked and he talked to his cardiologist. The doctor had to make him sure that he couldn’t just get a massive heart attack like he had before. He had to make him sure of his condition. He told him not to be to wild of course.
So he started slowly again. This time to wife on top, so she had to do most of the moving and after a while he had erections again, like he had before. As he told me, his sex life maybe isn’t the wild thing anymore like before, but at least he’s in the game again. Without Viagra.
There was a woman who had cancer of the cervix. She had radiation therapy and chemo; still they had to remove her womb and ovary. She was “cured’ but she didn’t want to have sex anymore. Her hormones were confused, she felt like parts of her body that made her female were missing and having sex just physically hurt her. And even that she didn’t like sex anymore herself she found it very important for her relationship. She started to talk with a sexologist and got breathing exercises to relax and talked about the different ways to have sex. Now she’s having sex about once every two weeks, without real penetration, not yet. This way she is trying to find a way with her partner to have a sex life after all.
A disease can lead to sexual problems for different reasons. It depends on the disease itself, the pain, fatigue, the sensitivity of the genital parts. Or with insecurity, the body looking different than before or just being scared. Lack of sex often isn’t just a case of only physical problems. Emotions and the kind of relationship they’re in is as important too. After a serious disease your life changes. It has its influence on the relationship. Not only your body goes trough changes, but also your relationship and the way you handle everything. This is when sexual problems can occur.
In my opinion doctors should mention this with the patients too. But most of the time they are happy that their patients leave the hospital “cured” from the disease. They find it difficult to talk about these things and doctors aren’t the best in communication anyway, at least the most of them. Most hospitals haven’t got a sexologist either and that’s why it’s so important to make sexuality a subject people can and are allowed to talk about. It’s the only way to be able to find a solution and to prevent more problems.
When you had to cope with a bad disease or you are in the middle of it, you know everything will change and it won’t be like it was most of the time. But you don’t have to do things like you did before. You don’t have to do it as frequent as before or the same way as before. Talk to your doctor or someone that you trust or a sexologist. Be flexible and creative to be able to solve it when the lack of sex is a problem.
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