For men, having a penectomy can be very daunting. A penectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove a part of the penis or all of it. This kind of surgery is a common treatment for patients with penile cancer.
Needless to say, a penectomy will have profound effects on your life. A man who has had a penectomy will need to make many life-changing adjustments. Aside from the psychological impact to you, you will also need to deal with the fact that your sex organ is no longer there. Here’s how your sexuality will change after you go through a penectomy.
Your Sex Life After A Partial Penectomy
For men who only need a partial penectomy, consider yourself lucky. Even though your penis will look weird after a part of your glans or your shaft is removed, you still have most of it left. And that means a lot when you think about what will happen to your sexuality if you actually had your entire penis removed.
Partial penectomies are usually performed when the growth of penile cancer is only limited to a small portion of the penis and has not yet reached the lymph nodes in your groin. This means that penile cancer is still at an early stage.
After your partial penectomy surgery, you will need to avoid sexual activities for as long as eight weeks to allow your penis to completely heal. In many cases, sexual enjoyment and satisfaction may still be possible after a partial penectomy.
If penile cancer has not yet affected your prostate, urethra, testicles, and you still have part of your erectile tissues left, you may still be able to achieve erections, engage in sex, and ejaculate normally.
However, this may not be true for all men after going through such a procedure. The truth is, even if only a part of the penis is removed, it will still affect you psychologically. Not to mention that you had the surgery because of penile cancer.
Although the outlook is usually good for those who had their penile cancer diagnosed and treated during the early stages, you won’t be able to avoid worrying about a recurrence. By itself, cancer can already cause intense psychological distress.
If you couple that with having a part of your penis removed, you can just imagine what kind of emotional roller coaster you’ll be going through. Such worries can cause anxiety and even depression.
When your psychological state is like this, you’re likely to experience a drop in your libido and even develop erectile dysfunction. This is why counseling is very helpful for men who went through a penectomy.
Sexuality After A Total Penectomy
For men who went through a total penectomy, erectile dysfunction is the least of their concerns. The number one problem is that they simply don’t have any sex organ anymore. In addition, when a total penectomy is performed, other surgeries are usually also conducted to remove nearby organs and lymph nodes if cancer has already affected them.
Hence, you may lose your penis, your scrotum, and even your prostate. It also means that you had these procedures performed on you because your penile cancer was already at an advanced stage.
Although it might be difficult to take in, it’s simply a matter of choosing between prolonging your life and giving up on your sex life. That kind of choice can make you feel as if the world dissolved under your feet. It’s not uncommon for men who went through a total penectomy to spiral into depression.
Although a penectomy is performed to save and prolong your life, it doesn’t mean that you won’t feel any effects on your self-esteem and self-image. The penis is often considered as a source of a sense of manliness. When your penis is removed, it’s a perfectly normal reaction to feel some negative impact on your sense of being a man.
Just try to imagine what you would do if you no longer have your penis. Definitely, you can’t engage in vaginal intercourse anymore. You won’t be able to ask your partner to give you oral sex because there’s nothing there anymore. You won’t even be able to masturbate. And we’re not even going into the details of how you will urinate moving forward.
Dealing with the loss of a very important organ can be very difficult. True, you may not even be interested in sex anymore, considering you’ll have to think about your cancer and further treatments. Your most pressing worry would most probably be how you can prevent cancer from further spreading to other parts of your body and how to prolong your life.
It’s also true that most men who develop penile cancer are usually in their advanced years. But that doesn’t mean that these men no longer think about sex. Nor does it mean that all men who have penile cancer are already extremely old.
There are also penile cancer patients who are still in their 30s or 40s. There has even been a case of a 26-year old man who lost his life due to penile cancer. You can just imagine that these young men would be very reluctant to totally give up on their sex life.
The truth is, you may no longer have any sex life to speak of after you have a total penectomy. This is especially true if you also had your scrotum and prostate gland removed. However, with some effort, you may be able to learn new ways of enjoying your relationship with your partner. For one, you can learn how to specialize in oral sex.
Phalloplasty, also referred to as penile reconstruction, may be an option for men who went through a total penectomy. Penile reconstruction is often performed not only for penile cancer patients but also for those who are suffering from congenital defects of the urethra or the penis. It’s also performed for men who got injured due to a penile trauma.
After your total penectomy, you may want to discuss with your doctor what your options are for phalloplasty, if it’s possible in your case, and if there are any risk factors involved.