Androgen deprivation and role reversal in the bedroom – A wife’s story

This story about androgen deprivation and how it can cause a “role reversal” in the bedroom was written by a wife in collaboration with a prostate cancer researcher and advocate.

Mary is the wife of a prostate cancer survivor. She has three children and was trained as a nursing assistant. She chose to be a “stay at home mother” but later joined the work force and ended her working career as the Director of the Pregnancy Care Centre in Toronto, Canada.



She is actively involved in supporting women who are struggling with sexuality issues that arise as the after math of prostate cancer treatments. She is a Christian and is committed to the fact that Bible blesses the sexual union as one flesh in marriage and it is worth fighting for.

Many couples believe that you either look after the cancer or you look after your sexuality. Mary believes that life should be lived to the fullest and fighting for both survival and sexuality is an essential part of being alive.

When her husband was placed on androgen deprivation therapy they started on a long hard fought battle together. They sought help from an experienced prostate cancer psychologist to enable them both to deal with the grief over the losses they both were experiencing.

They, like most couples, experimented with all the available aides and devices. When Levitra stopped working they went from pump only to Tri-mix penile shots and continued to use the pump to exercise the penile tissue. This combination is their current and ongoing solution as they cherish the closeness that penetrative intercourse provides them.

Their psychologist recommended that they set a time aside, on a weekly basis, to be sexually active. Her husband’s lack of libido was a hurdle for both of them to overcome until Mary was made aware of a new way to tackle the situation.

It was suggested that given her husband’s lack of libido that she take over the role of initiator. When this suggestion was made to her husband by another man Mary experienced anger. However, when the female partner discussed it with Mary it made sense especially when the benefits were identified and discussed.

This has allowed Mary and her husband to relax, have fun and enjoy their sexual encounters. She sets the scene with romantic music, perfume, flower petals and all sorts of fun and romantic items. This adds hilarity and lightheartedness to their situation as well as contentment for Mary.

They are both grateful for the gains their relationship has made, which would not have occurred but for the life-threatening situation they find themselves in.

They value one another even more and as Mary says the cost has been high, but worth every “cent”.

Submitted by Jo-Ann and Mary 6/4/2010.

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