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Can there be sexual desire after penectomy?

Penectomy: A surgical procedure for treatment of penile cancer which involves partial or total removal of the penis
Emeh Joy

Penectomy is the surgical removal of the penis either totally or partially and is mostly used for treating penile cancer.

This procedure usually asks the thorny question of "What is the fate of sexual intercourse afterwards?" Can there be sex after penectomy? How is life after penectomy?

The impact of conditions such as penile cancer (cancer of the penis) will vary depending on factors such as the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis, how sexually active the man is as well as the extent of the treatment.

Treatment of penile cancer raises much fear and anxiety for the man, and his partner and penectomy is just the height of this treatment. Sometimes penectomy depression too sets in.

Penectomy depression is real!

While this option might be the last resort to saving the life of one diagnosed with penile cancer, much will change in terms of the man's sexual life.

Some men, after undergoing surgeries to remove part of their penis have said that not only that they could not satisfy their partners, but the operation has also made them "feel less of a man". They start experiencing penectomy depression.

It is just understandable. Imagine having one of the most significant anatomical features nature gave to you as a male taken away from you.

Image showing the male sexual anatomy: The male reproductive system

Penile cancer and treatment

Penile cancer is the formation of cancerous or malignant cells on the surface or inside the penis tissue. Just like every other cancer, this is deadly, especially when diagnosed late.

There are different treatment options for penile cancer such as chemotherapy, penectomy, radiotherapy and the use of drugs.

We've mentioned penectomy severally here, but what is a penectomy?

Penectomy is another effective method and might be recommended by the doctor when the situation demands it.

Asides penile cancer, there are rare cases where it might be recommended for severe penile trauma.

Penectomy can be total or partial. With total Penectomy, the whole penis is removed. "How will the patient urinate then?" you are bound to ask.

The surgeons will have to create another urinary opening in the perineum (the area between the scrotum and the anus). The man will, however, have to squat to urinate.

The procedure of creating a new urinary opening is known as perineal urethrostomy.

In the case of partial Penectomy, only the end of the penis is removed, leaving out the shaft. In more advanced cases, the testicles and surrounding lymph nodes might also be removed alongside the penis.

Also, a portion of skin might be taken from another part of the body to replace some of the tissue that has been removed (a procedure known as skin graft).

Surgery to the penis in some cases causes complications like urinary problems. There could be swelling and inflammation of the penis which in turn exerts pressure to the urethra thus, causing the urinary system to spray when one is urinating. However, this is expected to improve as the body heals.

What are the sexual outcomes after penectomy?

Removing all or part of the penis can have huge impacts on a man's self-esteem. It can throw one into a state of depression.

You'd even hear some say they'd rather lose their limb or be crippled than opting for penectomy. But then, let's take that to be on a lighter tone. What happens when it is the only option for one to be alive?

Can there be sex after penectomy?

For some men, they can still attain sexual arousal and can even have satisfying sex after the partial penectomy. This means there can be sex after penectomy and there is also life after penectomy.

It usually isn't a walk in the park, though because, in most of those cases, they had to do therapy sessions and had their partners working with them to overcome their challenges.

Since partial penectomy involves removal of the end of the penis, the shaft would still be intact and can again become erect when aroused.

Indeed, the penile glans or 'head' which is the most sensitive area of the penis is gone but, orgasm and ejaculation can still be reached.

At this point, you'd be wondering, "what about total penectomy?"

It won't be possible for a man and his partner to share penetrative intercourse with total penectomy. However, it is still possible for a man to feel sexual pleasure when certain sensitive areas such as the area around the surgical scars, the scrotum and the skin behind the scrotum are caressed.

There might also be a possibility of reconstructing the penis after having a total penectomy. You will have to consult expert physicians on this one.

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Causes and risk factors for developing penile cancer

Now that you know how serious penile cancer can be, it is also crucial that you understand that some factors can increase your risk of developing it.

Some of the causes and risk factors include:

  • Human papillomavirus infection (HPV)
  • Uncircumcision
  • Use of tobacco
  • Poor hygienic practices
  • Being age 60 or above
  • Having many sexual partners
  • Phimosis
  • Using UV treatment method for psoriases

Cancers indeed catch people unawares, but it will be wise to play your part. Try aligning your lifestyle in such a way that it doesn't increase your risk of falling a victim for these health conditions.

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