Struggling with ed after prostate cancer

Hi. I'm new here and would really appreciate some advice. I had a radical prostatectomy just over 2 years ago but still can't get an erection. I'm 65 now by the way. This "failure" led to thinking that everything I did was a failure too, and I avoided contact with other people as I thought they would see me as a failure. I'm over the worst of that now, but wonder if anyone who's been through the same experience already can offer any advice.

I have an excellent ed nurse. The strongest Alprostadil urethral sticks don't work. The Caverject injections work fairly well but my penis doesn't go down for several hours, so I am strongly advised not to inject. Although I use the pump regularly for exercise, the rings (I've tried several) don't hold it up well enough for penetration. I really feel that I'm letting my wife down and would love to be able to give her proper sex again. Has anyone had a similar experience and can give me any advice to help get a better erection?

Thank you

17 Replies

  • I was told I'd be impotent for the rest of my life 4 years after my double nerve sparing surgery.

    I went for a penile implant. Check out my website for info about ED and implant surgery.

  • Thank you for your reply. I will certainly have a look at your website. An implant has been discussed but I've rejected it for now as I want more time to see if things improve naturally first. Also my wife would rather have me as I am than undergoing more surgery with the inherent risks involved. Thanks again

  • The book my wife and I wrote is to either help men and couples cope with ED and provide info to those considering implant surgery. Our marriage took a serious nose dive as I coped poorly with ED

  • Sorry to hear that. I don't think our marriage is any weaker, just the physical aspect has been affected and I am having to learn to cope with ed, which makes it different to before. I have a lot to be grateful for. Have had a quick look at your website, well done for trying to help others.

  • Have you tried the tri-mix injections?

  • Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't heard of tri-mix so just googled it. It seems it's not approved here in the uk, but I will certainly speak to me ed nurse about it. It gets good reports from those that can obtain it, so well worth pursuing. Thanks

  • This is just my opinion, please don't take some of it personal. At age 65 just be thankful you rid your self of PCa. As far as letting your wife down, if your wife's age is same as yours, hell most women that age has lost interest in sex any way . ( I said most) . There are other ways to satisfy her, if she needs to be. Has she indicated you are letting her down? If your marriage is solid, then you have not a thing to worry about. SURE a nice erection would be nice and really good sex, but it's not every thing in marriage, especially at age 65. And sometimes when you worry about something and stress out about it, it makes the situation worse. Just relax, be happy! Find other ways to satisfy the wife if it is needed.

    All The Best


  • Thank you Roger. You are abosolutely correct, the most important thing is to be rid of the cancer. I know that and am very grateful that it was caught in time. My wife hasn't lost interest in sex in the slightest, but she's adamant she'd rather have me here with her, even without any sort of erection. We do have intimate times regularly and there are indeed many other ways to give satisfaction. And she keeps telling me I'm not letting her down. The lack of full penetration hasn't weekend our marriage at all.

    It's my self perception that's failing me and I feel so guilty for even thinking about the ed when there are so many men who would love to be alive without any form of erection

    I don't take your comments personally at all. It's actually reassuring to hear another man say what you've just said. So thank you again, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply.

  • I go along with what Roger says. I had radical prostatectomy back in Nov 2015. My Gleason was 3+5=8. psa was just 5. All scans (MRI, CT and bone) were negative, no spread from the prostate. Nerves could not be paired back with a gleason of 8. SO no erections at all since then BUT I am 75 so that really is a small price to pay. My psa is in-recordable at 0.1 every 3 months. I have a pump but we have not used that 'in anger'. It seems a bit 'mechanical and cold'. Frankly I do not know how to get my wife interested in it. At my age with 4 adult married kids and 9 grandchildren I am just thankful that my PC has 'gone'.

    If sex at 65 is really important then you will have to keep trying various solutions, but don't put that before the fact that you have been 'cured'.


  • Thank you Terry. Please take my reply to Roger as a joint one to you too. I agree with what you say about the pump though! I'm so pleased that your PC has gone; that is the really important thing, I fully agree there.

    It is encouraging to read of people saying what you and Roger have said. All along I was told it would take 2 years, and when 2 years was up, there were still no erections. I thought I was the oddity but it would seem not. So thank you again for your encouragement

  • Hi Neil

    You are not a "failure." In fact, you did what you thought you needed to do so that both you and your wife can enjoy your love for many more years than you might have had if you did nothing about your prostate cancer. And, good that you felt comfortable posting here.

    Just about everyone who has prostate surgery is "less erect" than they were before surgery. The injections work for you, but are dangerous because your erections last much longer than they should. In a way, this is good news. The problem is finding the correct dosage and "mix." The solution is to get second, third and fourth etc opinions until you find a doctor who can figure out the best solution for you.

    Talking with your wife about this will be helpful too. I imagine that you have discussed this a bit. May I suggest that you ask her how she feels about sex (in general). Ask, "what do you like (want) me to do to you, physically? What fantasies do you feel comfortable talking to me about? What should I say, wear, or pretend that might take sex better, with or without an erection? What do you want me to know about how you enjoy sex that you feel I don't already know? In other words, talk to your wife about sex purely from her point of view and about her desires, given that erections are challenging. Let us know how that works out, here.

  • Hi Daryl

    Thank you for your reply. I should've included you in the 2 replies above!

    Yes, I did the right thing and I did it knowing that it was better to live without an erection than the other way round. My decision would be the same again even with the hindsight of today's problem. But the mind is a funny thing and now I feel a failure and I feel guilty for surviving and not being able to give my wife something she misses but can live perfectly well without.

    As you rightly suggest, we have and do discuss our relationship and I know that she's delighted that I came through the surgery etc with the cance gone and she fully accepts and enjoys our relationship without penetration.

    It's me that's the problem here and frankly I'm shocked that I've found it difficult to live with ed. It was her suggestion that I find a forum like this to learn more about how other men coped in the same or similar situation. As I'm beginning to adjust better I've now felt able to take her advice, and already I feel so much better about things, so thank you Daryl and everyone else, for your advice and encouragement. Neil

  • Thank you all for the discussion about post RP surgery and the ED problems we deal with. Reading the struggles of others reinforce that for me it is better not to die from Prostate Cancer and have ED than to perseverate about when the cancer will kill and not have ED (at least initially).

  • Don't leave an implant off the table. Two years is definitely the time to investigate this. I have one and have no regrets.

  • Thank you, that's good to know. Not going to have one yet, but I won't rule it out yet either

  • I am struggling with the same. I feel now I am a failure over everything.. It over rides anything I have done. I have 3 masters degrees and have been successful at various accomplishments. still I feel a failure, due to the financial set backs and over rides everything. I do not know the way out of this very dark place

  • That's just how I felt. I didn't like to go out and tried to avoid social situations because I felt such a failure. I had physical symptoms too which I thought was a bug which wouldn't clear up. My GP suggested the symptoms were due to a mental problem which shocked me. After a while I realised it all stemmed from the ed and the guilt over the cancer. Long story short - I did an online course on Cbt. That helped to a point although some of it was hocus pocus. It helped to realise that my reactions were normal and how they were creating vicious circles and by showing me how to overcome them.

    What probably helped most was realising that it was the ed which was the root cause of all my problems. I knew I should be grateful to be rid of the cancer and that only made me feel worse. When I persuaded myself to accept no stirring at all when the medicine was promising an erection, the next erectile failure became easier to accept. That I think was the turning point for me. And although there are setbacks I've maintained a gradual uphill slope since then.

    I don't know if your cause was cancer or not, and you look much younger than my 65 years, but people don't always realise the effect ed can have mentally. Telling someone it doesn't is like telling a deaf person to listen harder.

    I hope you find a way out of your dark place soon. There will be a way out, maybe different from mine, but I was like you and now I'm feeling more positive. Even posting on here and getting everyone's comments has been a real boost for me. Good luck , Neil

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