Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Post-hysterectomy Intimacy

I am finding this a bit more difficult to type out than I anticipated and have debated whether or not to include this “overshare.” 

Here’s the thing, if my hope is to in some way help other women who are dealing with the same fears and questions I am having, then I am doing a disservice if I am not completely honest about my experinces.  So, this will include rather intimate details about my current state of…what…sexual awareness?  Activity?  Ability? I just want to put the warning out there.  As of now, it is really only friends and family reading my blog. I know some of you will not be the least fazed by this and for others, the mere thought of reading it will make you do the “icky” dance.  But as much as I love you all, I am not sharing this for your sake.  I am sharing it for those other women.  My fellow “hystersisters” as it were.

Sex is a HUGE concern (for some women…not all) when facing the decision to have a hysterectomy.  We wonder if we will deal with pain, if we will feel “different” for our partner, or if we will be able to orgasm again.  Will we WANT to have sex or will our desire for it be completely gone?   

Intimacy is an important facet of most healthy marriages.  (I say “most” and not all because there ARE couples who are not ABLE to have sex and yet maintain a loving and strong relationship)  It can strengthen or defeat a relationship. Being concerned about whether everything is going to work…physically and mentally…is completely normal and not at all silly.  My best advice is to ask other women who have had a hysterectomy, how it affected their sex lives.  That is what I did, and MOST of the answers that I received were very positive.  That helped a lot since I had been reading some negative stories online. Having that reassurance has kept me from becoming overwhelmed with worry.

OK. On to my personal experiences…

A bit of back story.  I have mentioned before, I have never had a terribly high sex drive.  I am sure MUCH of it has to do with sexual hang-ups from the way I was raised…and I have had a hell of a time purging that BS out of my brain.  Even after being married for 23 years, I still have feelings of guilt surrounding sex. (THAT is another blog entry in and of itself!)  Another issue is self-esteem. I am carrying about 60 extra pounds and have a hard time accepting that my husband really truly wants to be with me. (Which he really, truly does.)  Hell, even when I was at my ideal weight…I had a hard time believing it.  All that being said, once things are rollin’ and I get past my hang-ups, I REALLY enjoy that time with my husband. 

Many women with endometriosis suffer from extremely painful intercourse. Often times this involves severe pain if their partner bumps their cervix. This is ONE of the reasons some women have TOTAL hysterectomies. My situation is different. I have been incredibly lucky and have had very little pain with sex. And…well, that bumping of the cervix is sort of a thing for me.  I like it…a lot. In my case, it produces some pretty fabulous orgasms.  And that was the primary reason I asked my doctor if I could keep my cervix. (supracervical hysterectomy) Thankfully, he said yes. However, I was prepared for him to say that it would be better if he took it out.  As it turns out, it is a good thing that I asked to keep it. Had I not, there would have been MORE complications during my surgery. (story for another time)   

Here we are…post hysterectomy.  Obviously, the first few days after surgery, I was too out of it and uncomfortable enough that my future sex life was not even on my radar.  But I was shocked at how quickly my subconscious got back in the game. Within 2 weeks post op, I had 3 rather steamy dreams about my husband.  The third, surprisingly…happily…lead to a “nocturnal orgasm.”  Yes, it’s a thing.  Some women do experience them in their sleep. For me, pre-surgery it was not nearly as fun as it may sound. My uterine contractions were so strong that they HURT.  THIS TIME…no pain.  Although I did feel, what I can only describe as, phantom contractions.  No uterus, so no contractions. But I still felt them?  Weird stuff.

I have also found that my desire for my husband has increased a great deal. (Thus the "back story" above)  I am not sure how much of it has to do with the hormone therapy and how much of it has to do with “wanting what I am not allowed to have.”   Regardless, I am counting the days until my six week checkup, when I should get the green light to give the new bod a test drive.  In the meantime, we did find out that topical stimulation IS safe and learned that, at the very least, I will be able to experience an external orgasm.  I know 6 weeks is not a terribly long time, but I am grateful we can enjoy this form of intimacy until then. 

I am still very nervous about how things will go “the first time.”  I think it will be better than post-partum sex.  Quite frankly, THAT sucked. It took months for that to stop being uncomfortable.  Since nothing was done to me vaginally and I still have my cervix, I have hopes that the pain will be minimal or non-existent.  I am also hoping that this new found “interest” sticks around for a while.  I think it would do the husband (and his ego) a world of good knowing I couldn’t keep my hands off him. He certainly deserves that.


  1. Awesome post! I'm so proud of you for making yourself share this. Being able to speak frankly about sex is a great step towards overcoming some of the "this is dirty" hang ups. The body image thing is hard for different reasons, but maybe positive reinforcement (lots of enjoyable sex) will help you get past it.

  2. I, on the other hand, have had the opposite happen. Having a very high sex drive pre hysterectomy, I have been very saddened by my total lack of interest. And my husband who is 15 years my junior, I'm sure is even more sadden by this. I had a complete trans-vaginal hysterectomy. So my doctor basically built me a new vaginal - which by the way, my husband was very happy with. I just don't have the energy or desire. Now part of that could be the extreme emotional upheaval of my life and no due to the hysterectomy at all.

    1. I would be willing to bet the emotional turmoil has taken it's toll. May not be the only reason, but it certainly can't help.