Did you know that September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month? More and more men in our social realm are affected by prostate cancer. In the past year, six men close to us, all sexually active, fit men in their early 50s to mid 60s, had their prostate removed. Depending on the type of procedure, skill of surgeon and stage of cancer, they may or may not experience erections again.
Does this mean their sex life is over, and the days of orgasms are gone? Well, no. It might not be the same it was, ejaculation and all, but there still can be sexual bliss and orgasm, with or without an erection!
Talking to these men started us on a quest to bring more awareness to the subject. Women have a myriad of support resources about breast cancer. But for men there is not much out there. Prostate cancer and the aftereffects of its treatment shake the very place where many a man defines himself. Not being able to have an erection and penetrate his partner is devastating for his manhood, self-esteem and confidence. The sad thing is that hardly anybody talks about it! Shame and embarrassment abound, and the subject is shoved under the rug.
We have been teaching Tantra workshops for over 10 years. We know a wide range of practices for mind-blowing sex with or without an erection. However, essentially Tantra is not just about sex techniques but the entire human being and a way of life.
Surviving a life-threatening disease often brings about personal transformation. What was important before is no longer meaningful. Life’s pace slows down, and even the mundane and trite moments become sacred. Looking into our partner’s eyes touches us at the bottom of our heart, and sexual union transforms into a meeting of two divine beings. Letting go of the past, we experience this moment; pure, new and fresh. Letting go of the future, we forget the goal. These are tantric practices for living more ecstatically, and when we apply them to sexual intimacy, the sky is the limit in terms of ecstatic, orgasmic experiences!
Sexual satisfaction and orgasms are not dependent on hard or wet genitals. When two lovers are deeply in tune with each other energetically, their intimacy can become the portal to the great bliss of tantric union rather than ending in the fleeting gratification of ejaculation. Remember Sting’s infamous seven-hour lovemaking sessions? Do you really think that he sported an erection the entire time? There are options, and many ways to make love!
Don, a retired scientist, had a prostatectomy seven years ago. “One of the first steps in my healing process”, he said, “was to accept that I could not get an erection, and that I really wanted one. I desperately wanted to find a way for my penis to get hard again.”
Finally, after about three years, he tried intracavernous injection therapy, injecting medicine into his penis before intercourse. It worked; he got an erection. But to his surprise his orgasm was a completely new experience. Rather than the orgasm of brief throbbing and ejaculation, it continued for many minutes, and sent waves of ecstatic vibrations through his whole body and that of his partner. By accident he discovered what we call a full body orgasm. Curious about the experience, Don and Jane attended several of our workshops and learned about the physiology of the body’s ecstatic response and the spiritual-sexual connection. They explored tantric practices that apply to their everyday life, and their intimate loving.
Nowadays when they make love he might use the injections, or not, and it is satisfying all the same. Jane tells me that their sex life is the best it’s been in their 30-year marriage! While Don certainly was not happy about his cancer, he is grateful for getting a different outlook on life, and a new perspective on what his body is capable of. He is thankful for being open to learn new ways of making love and relating to his wife. And above all, he is happy to be alive.
For those men unable to get erections after prostate cancer treatment, Western medicine provides various options for the physical part of having sex. From the tantric perspective there are many ways to connect with our ecstatic selves, with our without the medical help. To experience high sex is a transformational journey, not dependent on the prostate, and it enriches not only our sexual activities but our entire life.
It is our sincere wish to start a conversation about this important subject and to encourage each and every one of us to talk about it and create community and support for all those affected by prostate cancer.