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Learn about the realities of sexual restoration for gay men after prostate cancer treatment and how to solve the problem. Then take action!

Realities of Sexual Restoration For Gay Men after Prostate Cancer Treatment

While prostate cancer treatment can often be successful in eradicating the disease, it can also have a significant impact on a man’s sexual function. For gay men, who may already have been struggling with issues related to their sexuality, this can be a particularly difficult adjustment.

Here, we take a look at some of the realities of sexual restoration for gay men after prostate cancer treatment.

The Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatment on Sexual Function

The most common type of prostate cancer treatment is surgery to remove the prostate gland. This can often be successful in treating the cancer, but it can also have a number of side effects, including impotence (erectile dysfunction).

Other treatments for prostate cancer, such as radiation therapy, can also cause impotence. In fact, any treatment that damages the nerves or blood vessels around the prostate gland can potentially cause erectile dysfunction.

In addition to erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer treatment can also cause other sexual problems, such as:

  • Low libido (sex drive)
  • Difficulty achieving orgasm
  • Pain during sex

Adjusting to the New Reality

For many gay men, the loss of sexual function can be a devastating blow. Not only can it affect their ability to have an active and fulfilling sex life, but it can also lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and depression.

It is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many other men who are going through the same thing. Additionally, there are a number of resources and support groups available to help you adjust to your new reality.

Sexual Restoration Options

While there is no guaranteed way to restore sexual function after prostate cancer treatment, there are a number of options that may help. These include:

  • Medications: There are a number of medications that can be used to treat erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. These medications work by increasing blood flow to the penis, which can help to achieve and maintain an erection.
  • Penile injections: This involves injecting a medication into the side of the penis. The medication works by widening the blood vessels, which can increase blood flow to the penis and help to achieve an erection.
  • Vacuum devices: This involves using a device that creates a vacuum around the penis. The vacuum pulls blood into the penis, which can help to achieve and maintain an erection.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be an option. This can involve implants or grafts to help achieve and maintain an erection.
  • Counseling: For many men, counseling can be an important part of dealing with the psychological effects of erectile dysfunction. A counselor can help you to come to terms with your new reality and find ways to cope with the loss of sexual function.

It is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one man may not work for another. It is important to talk

Alan Shindel, MD MAS is Professor of Urology at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Shindel discusses the realities of restoring sexual function in gay men after prostate cancer treatment. Dr. Shindel has authored over 150 manuscripts and commentaries published as peer-reviewed original research, reviews, book chapters, and/or patient information pieces on topics including sexual dysfunction in men and women, urinary tract symptoms, nutritional supplements, urologic cancers, and medical education.

Our interviewer is oncology social worker and researcher Darryl Mitteldorf, LCSW. Malecare ( malecare.org ) is one of the world’s leading men’s cancer patient support and nonprofit advocacy organizations. Malecare produced the first gay men with a prostate cancer support group in 1997. Malecare pioneered the field of LGBT psycho-oncology and founded the world’s first nonprofit to focus on all LGBTQI+ people diagnosed with cancer, the National LGBT Cancer Project ( lgbtcancer.org ).