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Major surgery and sex life

(6 Posts)
bananamilkshake1 Wed 15-Jul-15 15:39:09

I've been meaning to post about this for a little while - I'm really worried about my relationship.

So, back story is I've been with my DP for over 6 years. After having come out of a largely sexless marriage in it's final years, I was delighted to have found physical compatibility with a lovely man in my mid 40's and was looking forward to a long a happy (sex) life with him.

At the start of this year I was diagnosed with bladder cancer which ended up with me having a complete hysterectomy and shortening of the vagina as part of a major re-plumbing surgery. All through my illness and post op, my DP has been amazing and supportive and I was looking forward to the time when we could be physically intimate again. Sex had been painful the past 12 months (due to the cancer) so our sex life had been suffering. I was particularly gutted about this for both our sakes.

3 months post op & I'm well and cancer free. However, I have pretty much zero sex drive and on the couple of occasions we've tried, he's said it "feels different" and we've stopped. I have been upset by this - not because I blame him in any way, but because I feel like less of a woman than before. I've tried to talk to him about it & he's suggested I just use lots of lube but there's also a hint of him being turned off due to the surgery I've had. I've now lost my confidence. We used to have loads of foreplay & now there's none - I feel like he just doesn't want me anymore.

We've just come back from 2 weeks holiday & neither of us initiated sex - it's become the elephant in the room. I don't know how to start talking to him about this - things used to happen so naturally. I've always been a cuddly sort of person, but in the main his cuddles and physical affection come as part of sex and that closeness. We're not having sex, therefore unless I ask for cuddles, I don't get any. I can't remember the time we last kissed :-(. He's just said it will take time. There is nothing deliberate in his actions - i.e. he's not witholding cuddles because we aren't having sex - it's just the way he is. He has Aspergers and I'm sure this is all as difficult for him as it is for me.

I realise I'm probably sounding a bit sorry for myself - and this is true. I'm gutted that I have no sex drive when I still fancy him like mad, but I'm also sad that the glue which has been so important to us, seems to be coming unstuck. Mentally, I still want sex with him very much.

I'm going to see my gp about hrt to try to help my sex drive - although I am anxious about the side effects and risks. I feel like half a woman at the moment - a bit dead inside. It seems so bloody unfair.

Can anyone help?

Banana

Lilybensmum1 Wed 15-Jul-15 15:50:46

Hi, sorry to hear about your situation but pleased that you are cancer free. I think you are doing the right thing seeing your GP maybe HRT will help but I'm sure there are other medical options that can help with the dryness.

I would guess your confidence has taken a big knock due to the surgery and is now even more difficult due to your situation. Start with your GP once you know what medical help is available I'm sure that will make you feel a bit better. Regarding your confidence is their anything else you could do to improve this? New haircut, clothes, exercise etc. I'm not saying you need to do these things but it's another way that you may begin to feel better about yourself.

It's difficult if you don't feel confident but are also worried about your dp, you say he has aspergers does he discuss his feelings with you or is he quite introverted? Is he worried about hurting you? If sex has recently hurt you I can understand he may be reluctant to try again, do you think maybe he does not cuddle as he is scared to initiate sex and start this situation all over? Can you say to him I just need a cuddle?

Lastly have you considered counselling? Communication is key but can be the hardest thing to achieve that is why counselling may help, if you think it's for you I'm sure your GP can advise.

Hope that's not all waffle and I hope I have not insulted you in anyway, you have come so far with all you have been dealt. Good luck.

TokenGinger Wed 15-Jul-15 16:35:59

You poor thing! I really felt for you reading your post.

I think you're doing the right thing seeing your GP.

There are other things you can try though. No matter how hard my DP tries, I just do not get wet from him foreplaying with his hands! Could you DP give you oral to help with the dryness? This ALWAYS helps me. Kissing also really sets me off if it's passionate.

We've also bought some fragrance free lube from Ann Summers which has been an absolute Godsend!

goddessofsmallthings Wed 15-Jul-15 17:55:47

flowers for you, honey. You've gone through so much and I'm delighted you've been restored to health - well done you and your medical team.

Feeling like you're 'half a woman' is not uncommon after a hysterectomy but of course you're not as you're still a whole woman - and all woman! - minus a small part that had come, or was coming to the end, of its usefulness.

It seems probable that due to your ill-health over the past year or so, your dp has become accustomed to celibacy and/or may have become reliant on masturbation to relieve any sexual urge he feels.

During the cystectomy your vagina was shortened and tightened which is why it feels different to him. Regular gentle sex will serve to stretch it and make it more supple and he should find the 'new normal' heightens his pleasure.

After this particular op, it's not uncommon for women to experience different sensations during sex and it can be more difficult to have an orgasm. Do you have any difficulty experiencing orgasm through masturbation?

Make an appointment with your GP and ask for a hormone test to determine whether or not you need HRT or another replacement for any that are lacking/deficient.

If you have felt any discomfort on those few occasions you have had sex since your op, ask your GP to prescribe lots of an oestrogen gel or cream and don't confine its use to having sex with your dp, ifyswim.

I would suggest you also ask your GP to a counsellor who specialises in sexual problems for advice and support. As your situation may be exacerbated by your dp's Asperger's I would also suggest he attends the appointment with you.

Relax - don't worry! It may take time but, providing your dp is willing, there's no reason to suppose you won't enjoy the long and happy sex life you envisaged when you first became intimate with him.

If it should transpire that he's not willing, PLEASE don't believe that this reflects on you in any way shape or form as it will be entirely his problem and not yours.

Do please come back with an update and also give consideration to posting on the General Health board as many women 'over there' have undergone similar procedures and I have no doubt they'll be willing to share their post op experiences with you.

Here's a wine to toast your continuing good health - and feel free to have another whenever you want smile

goddessofsmallthings Wed 15-Jul-15 23:26:43

ask your GP to refer you to a counsellor ... etc

bananamilkshake1 Thu 16-Jul-15 11:41:24

Hi and thanks so much for your replies. Goddess, yours actually made me cry (in a nice way). It's been such a tiring time, I guess i just wanted normality to return. Things won't ever be "normal" again though and that makes me sad. I know my hormones aren't helping though which is difficult as I'm generally a pretty positive and upbeat person.

I am very grateful having come out of surgery both cancer free & with an internal neobladder, rather than a stoma.

Have made an appointment to see my GP - so it's a start. :-)

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