ADT can cause many physical changes in the body and impact on mental health, sexuality, and intimate relationships. The following clips describe how several patients (and partners) managed these changes.
Abby and Darcy talk about how Abby is more easily moved to tears and how they came to accept this change in his emotional expressiveness.
Kathleen discusses how Don has become more emotionally expressive on ADT. He is more spontaneously tearful. This has not been easy for Don to accept because he has viewed tearful expression as a threat to his masculine strength. In this clip, you can observe how on the one hand, Don feels a need to appear ‘strong’, which to him means not being overly emotional. But Don is learning to accept this change in emotions, and his wife and friends, are understanding of this change.
Bruce talks about the emotional changes he experienced and the benefits of psychological counseling. One day, when he was seen in clinic by his nurse, she picked up that he was somewhat angry and distressed. A day or two later, he was surprised to receive a call from a doctor, who specializes in counseling men with prostate cancer. He reports that the conversation he had with the counselor helped him better adapt to the emotional changes brought on by ADT.
Bruce talks about how, as a single man, he gets support. Bruce realized that if wanted support, he needed to confide in his family and friends. When he is out with his friends, because he is watching his weight, he now limits the number of beers he drinks and orders a salad rather than fries. Nonetheless, he enjoys getting together with friends and even jokes that his healthy choices are rubbing off on his friends. Bruce also talks about the importance of maintaining a positive attitude when adjusting to cancer in general.
Sexuality and Intimacy
Note: The majority of these clips are of heterosexual couples. We had difficultly finding gay patients that were willing to talk about their experiences so publicly, but we did hear from many of these men when writing the book. If you are gay, or you are single, you may find these videos less relatable. However there is a video from ProstateUK of Martin, who talks about his experience as a gay man. That video can be found at: https://youtu.be/AV0yZIiWTng
If you envision yourself becoming sexual with a future partner, you might be interested to see how this particular couple, Abby & Darcy, navigate some of the sexual changes in their relationship. In their videos, they talk about working with reduced sexual interest and staying connected in ways other than sex.
If you are thinking that no potential partner would be willing to be in a relationship without being sexually active, you might be interested in hearing the view of this partner, Kathleen. *Click here or see below.
Harold and Kim talk about how information in the ADT book helped them keep their sex life going. Harold explains how ADT diminished his sex drive, but a strategy for maintaining intimacy that worked for them, was setting a schedule for sex.
Hear Abby and Darcy talk about the changes in their sexual relationship brought on by ADT. At the beginning, when Abby was diagnosed, sex was not a priority for either Abby or Darcy. When Abby’s health started to recover, they decided to reinitiate sexual activity. Abby was surprised though by how little interest he had in sex while on ADT. He found that he became distracted during sex and had to work to focus on sex in the moment.
Abby talks about how experiencing difficulty with erections led to him feeling insecure, wondering if Darcy would be sexually satisfied. They were able to talk to each other about Abby’s concerns and Darcy reassured Abby that he need not worry. Abby also focused on how sex is still important for their relationship, despite his lack of sex drive, because he knew Darcy was still interested in sex.
Abby and Darcy talk about how they keep their sex life going despite Abby’s lower sex drive. They found that sex is still a valuable part of their lives, but it is less frequent than before he was on ADT. They now intentionally schedule time for sex.
Hear Abby and Darcy talk about what they have done to remain physically and emotionally close. They share how it’s been important to maintain affection and show their love for each other in ways other than just sexually.
Don and Kathleen aren’t sexual anymore. This ended some time before his ADT as he had erectile difficulties due to his cardiovascular disease. The couple emphasizes the importance of communication and checking in with each other to make sure their needs are met. They have found other ways to show affection than through being sexual.
Kathleen talks about how for her participating in sexual activity only for her benefit was not something she was interested in, as sex was largely an act of giving to her partner.
Abby and Darcy make “appointments” to have sex. They share how they use Viagra and injections to help Abby get an erection. Abby notes that he needs sexual stimulation to get an erection when he takes Viagra.
Bruce talks about his struggles dating. He first tells of dating a woman for 2 months and never feeling comfortable enough to tell her about his cancer diagnosis nor changes in his sexual ability from his cancer treatments. He broke off the relationship because he was too ashamed to tell her about his sexual dysfunction. In hindsight, he saw how he hurt her by not explaining why he ended the relationship. He realized that he first needed to get comfortable with his loss of erectile function before he could tell a woman about it. Having now developed a greater comfort with his sexuality, he has invited another woman to go on a trip with him. This time he plans to explain his situation up front, to make sure that she is OK with it before the relationship develops too far. He still admits though to being anxious about being sexual with a woman, not knowing how it will go, but thinks is willing to give it a try.