Hysterectomy and Attitudes of Refusal
Hi all! Glad to see the board back up!
There’s been a lot of water under the bridge at our house since the board has been down. 2 weeks ago, my wife had a total hysterectomy – using the Davinci robot method. The reasoning was multi faceted – She’s 43 and we don’t plan to have more children, periods that lasted 8-10 days, high estrogen / low testosterone & progesterone that wasn’t responding well to HRT, PCOS (minor), mood swings / PMS, cramping, constant migraines (related?) and maybe the most serious issue – her iron level was down to 6. (Supposed to be 60-80!). The theory is she was losing the iron in all the bleeding.
I guess I need to add some details about the refusal as well. It’s a really long story – I’ll skip to the end. Married 18 years. Both virgins, she never embraced sex to the level I expected. (Nearly everything is off limits in bed). Things have slowed consistently over the years. She is the absolute gatekeeper. She decides if, when, where, what, for how long, what she wears (usually not fully undressed), and if or when we will ever do it again. Last year we had sex 28 times. Just over twice a month with none a couple months. Ususally she seems to enjoy the moment, but wants it over / me to finish as quickly as possible. (Lots more to this, but I’ll leave it here for the moment)
So … my question – have any of you dealt with refusal and hysterectomy? Was there any change? Any encouragement you can offer?
For some women, having a hysterectomy removes some of the difficulties that made it so much easier to resist sex. It’s hard to recognize your own issues when you’re constantly uncomfortable or have abnormal levels of essentials such as iron.
It is common for women to struggle after a hysterectomy in terms of feeling like a woman. Also, it can take up to a full year for women to physically recover from the surgery–and that includes sexual function.
I didn’t begin to address my own gatekeeping and refusal until almost two years after my hysterectomy, so I would say that there is hope for change.
I have a three-part series on my blog about sex after a hysterectomy. (You can find first post here, with links to the others at the end.) Only the third post is really about sex, so if your wife would be open to reading something about surgery recovery, she might find the series helpful.
This isn’t so much an answer as perhaps letting you know you’re not alone? My wife is planning a hysterectomy in a couple months and while I understand her reasons and support her choice I’m absolutely terrified about what it will mean for intimacy. Like you, my wife is a 100% gatekeeper, and I would be delighted with 28 times in a year! I can’t shake the dread that this procedure will end up being a convenient excuse to finally cut intimacy off permanently. I wasn’t planning one being celibate at 43, I had a past sin of infidelity at least partially as a reaction to refusal, and I worry that desperation will push me down that path again.
You’ll be in my mind going forward and I hope things go well.for you.
@HIT, I am so sorry. I can feel the desperation, the pain, and the longing. My chest is tightening and I physically feel an ache for you. I understand neglect. I understand the feelings of loneliness, abandonment and even betrayal that can come from it. I know the feelings of losing almost all hope. The feeling of powerlessness draws me to the One who has power, the One who promises He will use this for your good if you love Him, the One who can hold you when no one else can, and plead on your behalf.
My wife had a hysterectomy, and we are enjoying the best sex of our lives. But we had a good sex life before, and she did the work required to come back from the hysterectomy. For a gatekeeper, a hysterectomy would be a good reason to curtail sex even further.
You will still need to deal with the gatekeeping. Give her time to recover, then seek counseling from a pastor or Christian counselor.
Don’t give up on HRT. What she needs is Bioidentical HRT from a doctor trained in that field. Your typical GP or OB/Gyn is not going to be able to help. When they get her testosterone levels up, her body will desire sex. That probably won’t get you over the mental aspects of refusal, but it will make any psychological help she is getting easier and more effective.
AV8R – I wish I had good news for you, but this whole process has been a huge strain on our relationship. Not only the physical issues of a major surgery, but the emotional part of dealing with a hormonal time-bomb which goes off at random times. I’ve found myself bitter and angry at the whole thing. There isn’t much support out there for husbands who have to endure it all. I know God’s hand is in it, but it doesn’t make it easier.
Just know you aren’t alone.
The good news is that post – hysterectomy, many women have a higher desire for physics intimacy for a variety of reasons. I can also tell you that even though the Dr. told us we have to wait 8-12 weeks for sex, my wife has actually said she’s had interest in the last couple weeks (4-weeks post op right now) and feels frustrated she can’t act on it. (Fantastic news! She’s barely been interested in months)
The other thing to make sure of is that hormones are being addressed. Especially if ovaries are removed. Our Dr uses the pellets for HRT, but is hesitant to start using them because he said he didn’t want to drive libido up and make her frustrated when she can’t do anything about it. (WHAT!). That was a really encouraging comment and gives me a crumb of hope that I won’t be celibate the rest of my life. (She’s on testosterone / estrogen creme at the moment)
Lastly – Your fear of infidelity is legitimate. Fight it with every ounce of strength you have and pray non-stop for God to remove the temptation. Run away from it as fast as you can. You promised to care for your wife in sickness and in health. This is the sickness part. I’m right there with you.
Seeking Perspective has done an excellent write-up above. This gave me some encouragement – even though every day I wonder how I’m gonna deal with it another day – but we must endure..
In the end, a lot of women say it’s the best decision they ever made and wind up in a much better place afterward.
Praying for us both. -HIT.
Well it’s now been 77 days / 11 weeks since surgery. There was no sex for several weeks before that, so in total it’s been about 5 months since we’ve had sex.
There seems to be no hope of a ‘normal’ life anytime soon. Or even anything close. A few times she has teased ‘maybe we can try’ but always backs out. There’s always any excuse. I try not to put too much pressure on her in hopes that she’ll come around to a husband that loves and supports her. But this sure feels like an easy way for her to get a break from having to be sexual in any way. Seems to be exactly what she wants. And it just keeps going on and on. Now she’s saying that ‘It takes a year to feel normal again, I’ve only got 9 months to go’. Great.
Maybe our situation is an anomaly, but no one mentions how difficult this is on men. There are days I think I’m going to lose my mind. Wandering through life alone with no possibility of being wanted. I pray about it constantly, but there’s no relief.
She’s well aware of my needs and it’s apparently impossible for her to handle. (Hot flashes, don’t touch me, I don’t want to get turned on, I feel nauseous, my stomach hurts, ‘the part you like’ hurts, etc.). Always an excuse. As much as I try to stay supportive I can’t stop myself from getting sullen and withdrawn sometimes.
I just don’t know what to do.
I’m really sorry for you. I got a dose of duty sex from my wife last night – it was the first time in a year. You are not alone. It feels awful doesn’t it? It’s like our choice is 1) no sex or 2) commit adultery or 3) divorce. If we leave then we are the bad guys. I’m 47 my wife is 45. I have 2 kids and I hate the idea of divorce – because I know it can mess up the kids. I’m not sure it helps but just know you are not alone and I’m very sorry for your situation.
This is also true for us.
“My wife had a hysterectomy, and we are enjoying the best sex of our lives. But we had a good sex life before, and she did the work required to come back from the hysterectomy.”
Mrs. Youngbear had an oophorectomy at age 45. To be sure, her hormones and body changed. However, her positive attitude about sex enabled her adjust, and I needed to be patient and love her more. In fact, our sex life flourished and continues to flourish.
It seems that a hysterectomy adds an additional hurdle in a gatekeeping marriage. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the marriage bed will be more difficult, but it certainly poses an additional challenge.
Gatekeeping has its own issues – they need to be addressed. A hysterectomy has its own issues – healing and personal care is important to get back to healthy sex. In combination – a hysterectomy in a gatekeeping marriage – requires more patience and communication. That may be a simplistic answer, yet it’s necessary to embrace for both husband and wife.
@ MrEden – Thanks for the encouraging comment. It’s now been 7-1/2 months since surgery. She’s been on HRT from one of the most prominent hormone specialists in our major US city. There have been a couple glimmers of hope here and there over the past couple months, but they always fade. The testosterone has been a. Issue. Each time she has gotten the implants the testosterone runs out too quickly and she has to get a booster. Just this week she got another booster because testosterone was still low. Free testosterone was 18.3. pg/mL. And total is 229 ng/dL. He wants free to be over 20. Estrogen is also high so he’s having her take DIM to slow the testosterone from concerting to estrogen as quickly.
It seems like she has a little more interest a couple weeks after each of these inserts, but then it fades fast.
I just live with the assumption the answer is no. If there’s ever a yes, it’s a real treat, followed by the disappointment that it will be another week (or several). before the next opportunity.
Trying to hang in there, but it’s difficult.