"Sex is something many couples have difficulty discussing with each other – even when things are going well", says Cape Town sexologist and counsellor, Dr Esther Sapire. "It is essential for couples to go for counselling with a professional – both before and after the surgery.
"What does sometimes cause problems is the fact that most men who have prostate problems are in the 60 - 80 age group, and they can sometimes have very fixed ideas about sexuality and the expression of sexuality. But this is obviously not true in all cases."
It is important that couples be made aware of possible problems, even before they arise. The lack of sensation the man might feel is often initially problematic, but men must remember that they can still satisfy their partners using their hands or their mouth.
Maintaining a sense of intimacy is of the utmost importance – couples need to know that within the safe space of their relationship they are still able to connect with each other on an intimate level.
Couples need to let each other know that they still find each other attractive on a sexual level and that their sexual needs can continue to be met within the relationship. Whether this is achieved by means of penetrative sex, oral or digital stimulation, is in the end not that important.
"Very often counselling is needed to improve communication between partners. It is so important that couples develop and maintain the maximum sexual potential in their relationship – and this often entails dealing with change, which is sometimes easier to negotiate with the help of a trained counsellor," according to Dr Sapire.