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Lack of any sexual activity after cancer

Low or no sex drive?
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Beccaloo
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Re: Lack of any sexual activity after cancer

Post by Beccaloo »

Hopefulsurvivor wrote: Tue May 25, 2021 8:09 am Don’t disagree with seeking outside help, but how do I get past her refusing to go along.
I sent you a pm.
Hopefully others will have some ideas & be able to share soon.
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hastentheday
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Re: Lack of any sexual activity after cancer

Post by hastentheday »

@Hopefulsurvivor,
I was wondering if you could elicit the help of a best friend (s) of hers or do you have any family especially her side that could make inroads on helping her to see that she needs professional help? I'm sure you have thought of this but just in case.....
2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
Hopefulsurvivor
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Re: Lack of any sexual activity after cancer

Post by Hopefulsurvivor »

Very doubtful. Her background/family is that of a very conservative church setting where sex is essentially a taboo topic.
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Beccaloo
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Re: Lack of any sexual activity after cancer

Post by Beccaloo »

Would the topic of sex have to be breached before going into the counseling itself?

You can tell her family or friends you want her to be fully healed & that she seems to have closed herself off emotionally & physically.
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benny
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Re: Lack of any sexual activity after cancer

Post by benny »

You're in one of the toughest situations I've ever heard. I wish I could offer something to help you but like you I'm at a loss. Getting her past her strict upbringing is a big issue alone. My only advice is let her see your love for her and don't hide your pain from her. Maybe seeing both will help her on to the right path where both of you can find some happiness. Praying for you guys

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Irnmyk
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Re: Lack of any sexual activity after cancer

Post by Irnmyk »

I have come to this thread countless times and clicked back out without responding - it's been difficult; you'll see why below.

I think that you have a compound problem.

First, this board is full of men complaining about their wives shutting down sexually in some form or maybe even totally. So, there's that (and plenty of good reading for you as you rummage around on the Board).

But more importantly, there is what I think is PTSD. Let me state why I might say that.

Over a decade ago, I received a phone call from a doctor who told me, and I quote "you have an uncurable, untreatable Cancer called XYZ". (He didn't say incurable, he said uncurable...). It was as if a hammer had hit me and pounded me into the earth to about my knees with one blow.

Your wife went through the same type of process. It sounds like, from your posts, that the results have been good - Thank The Lord - and, for my case, prayers - thousands upon thousands of them - kicked in and I, too, am in the "cured" status and not even in the follow-up check routine, but, rather, kicked back out into the general population where we all wait for the next shoe to drop.

But, the immediate aftermath of such a pronouncement sends the mind to places that it has never been before (and to which you never want it to go again). I promise you that your wife went through some form of that. 'Will I get to see my kids grow up, will I ever see the days get long again, will I ever see another spring, fall, summer, whatever?

And, then, there are the strange ones. I remember thinking - more to the point of this Board - "I'm not ready to die, I haven't had enough sex yet." And the one where I thought "I've not gotten to enjoy all the Classic Rock that I want to hear".

Crazy stuff, but the mind goes nuts, especially during those early stages when it is all "unknown" out there in front of you.

Your wife, I promise, went through all that in some form or fashion.

Fast forward almost two decades to today. When we are watching some type of TV show like "The Voice" or "American Idol" or the like where they give a background package on the candidate or the candidate's loved ones where Cancer is involved, and especially where there has been success, DW knows to reach over and grab a tissue and hand it to me because she knows that I am sitting there silently bawling my eyes out. It is part of my PTSD reaction to all that I went through.

So, I related all that personal stuff to make the point that you are dealing with something much more deep and maybe much worse than the common sexual issues that we commonly see on this board.

Now, others smarter than me, and maybe more specifically trained than me - my training is not in this area - will have to guide you as to how to get her help for the latter (the PTSD) which might or might not help with the former (her seeming attitude about sex overall).

Yours is a tough one. You have my prayers.

PS: and as a PS, I'm sure that all the other Cancer survivors (or sufferers) on the Board will second this; I now know how to pray to our God concerning Cancer much differently and in a way that I never imagined before - so I'm lifting those up for you and your DW.
DJinCO
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Re: Lack of any sexual activity after cancer

Post by DJinCO »

Hopefulsurvivor,

First, you will get through this. So many things are impacting you and your wife. I can relate. I felt like more of a room-mate than a husband for many years. Even my wife's GYN oncologist said that there was nothing he could do. Everyone said the only answer was hormone replacement therapy.

I strongly encourage a vaginal suppository and oil with CBD. Foirawellness has some amazing products.

My wife was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer on Feb1st, 2010. A full hysterectomy, a bilateral oophorectomy ((oh-of-uh-REK-tuh-me) is a surgical procedure to remove one or both of your ovaries.)) and a debulking of the omentum as the cancer spread to the omentum. Following the surgery, she was in chemotherapy 3 days a week for 10 months.

She was thrust into menopause in an instant. Hormone treatment was not an option as ovarian cancer is a hormonal cancer. Sexual intercourse was off the table during chemo, and for about nine months after chemo ended.

The chemo deteriorated the bones and cartilage in both knees. Spring of 2011, she had both knees replaced (at the same time). Her recovery was very tough. She got addicted to oxycontin without even realizing it. She was able to recover, and is fine now.

Until her knees were feeling better and more mobile, there was no intercourse.

Once we tried to make love, we found out that her vagina had atrophied. Vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis) is thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls that may occur when your body has less estrogen. Vaginal atrophy occurs most often after menopause.

For many women, vaginal atrophy not only makes intercourse painful but also leads to distressing urinary symptoms. Because the condition causes both vaginal and urinary symptoms, doctors use the term "genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM)" to describe vaginal atrophy and its accompanying symptoms.

Estrogen therapy was not recommended; the various lubricants did not offer any relief. We had abstained from intercourse until just 2 weeks ago. (July 2021).

We found a vaginal suppository called "neueve" and a vaginal suppository from Foira that uses CBD which seems to have promising results.

Lack of natural sexual relations for 11 years, 5 months, 26 days (give or take a day or two).
Doug in Colorado
David
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Re: Lack of any sexual activity after cancer

Post by David »

Breast cancer at that age is unusual, but not unheard of. Are there any support groups that she's a part of?
Some people who've had cancer benefit from being able to talk to others in the same position.
Your wife no doubt finds it difficult that she's probably 20 years younger than the average breast cancer patient, so she's the odd one out. I suspect she's also sensitive about the effect it's had on her body and her femininity.

While her friends were having babies and breastfeeding, she was having her breasts removed and being told she'd never have children of her own. That's not going to have been easy to accept and deal with!
LBD
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Re: Lack of any sexual activity after cancer

Post by LBD »

God bless you friend! Yours is a tough situation. I can never know (and pray I nor anyone does) the full extent of your pain and anxiety. However, I have some inklings. My DW had a breast tumor as well. Turned out to be benign, but that was not the original diagnosis. We only got that after lumpectomy and secondary pathology. It was estrogen sensitive as well. It was very aggressive and it came back once, which required a more expansive surgery. She is menopausal now and can't take hormonal txt. We had some of those conversations as well. In her mind, sex and anything surrounding that was tertiary to her survival and her self care. I was just supposed to get over it. I know it is not as easy as it should sound. I love my wife as I am sure you do yours. It felt like a bum deal all around and none of it in our control. Things haven't turned out so bad for us now in that area. She started using some vaginal inserts from her GYN and that "area" seems to actually be better than before if you can imagine that.

Then a couple of years ago I stared death right in the face with surviving the "Widow-maker" heart attack - out of the blue with zero symptoms beforehand, zero risk factors. Just a genetic thing. I was minutes away from not being here according to the cardiologist. That will change a man. I know I still suffer from some PTSD from that experience. Talking about waiting for the other shoe to drop - I'm waiting for the grenade in my shirt pocket to go off.....all the time.

But this is not about me, or you for that matter. It's about your wife. It seems as Myk said, your wife's problem is complex. The main issue existed prior to the cancer, but it took the cancer to bring it to the surface. As they say, stress doesn't make the (wo)man, but it will bring out the (wo)man underneath. I think it is quite normal in such situations for us all to spend some time in absolute selfishness - which is really just self-survival at that stage - or we view it as such. Not many people can hang on the cross and think about others. Only our savior was 100% successful at that. And I don't think there is a specific time limit to the self focus. It can take longer for some than others. One thing is for sure, if you press the issue too hard, she will only feel attacked even more than she already does. I do agree with one suggestion to make sure she sees and feels your love but also does not miss your pain either. Your pain is as real as hers and deserves recognition just the same.

On the other hand, if I told wife tomorrow that we are going to have to give up gas station pizza because it's not good for me, she wouldn't hardly give a rip. She has no desire for it anyway. But if I told her no more crushed ice to crunch because I am tired of hearing it and it makes my stress levels go up - there'd be some words exchanged and she'd probably have make herself a glass of crushed ice while exchanging them. It is easy to give up what we do not desire, and it is hard to place ourselves in the other's position. Make the choice between something we put little value in and our own life.... you know how that will go. So it comes down to figuring out how to get her to put more value on sex in the marriage than she currently does. Nothing less will push her to change.
It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance. -Thomas Sowell
::dog
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