17 November 2020: Practical ways of combining penile rehabilitation with sexual play are finally dawning. What were a disparate set of decidedly unsexy rehab exercises can actually be integrated into something both shared and also more sexy. And this integration actually improves the rehabilitation process!
I’m referring to it as a form of yoga because this is a deep mix of physical stretching, loving engagement, acceptance of limitations, resilience and mindfulness.
I got the basics of yoga for the penis already six months ago and it has helped. But I’ve been finding it all rather clinical and lonely. This applies equally to direct stretching the tissues of the penis with a Vacuum Erectile Device, and the just-as-clinical pelvic floor exercises. When my physio told me to do the pelvic floor exercises with an erection – my jaw hit the floor. How am I supposed to find an erection (a) with ongoing nerve damage from surgery and (b) in middle of un-erotic physio exercises?
The purpose of integrating penile rehabilitation with arousal
One of the biggest problems for me since my prostate surgery has been the medicalising of my genital functions. All this treatment is decidedly unsexy. Yet for me and many other men, the purpose of penile rehabilitation is to restore partnered sexual function. That requires arousal and relationship.
So my goal now is to move beyond the rather clinical creation of an erection and the important exercise of supporting pelvic floor muscles. That has been moderately successful in a private and inwardly-focused setting, but the problems are:
- Clinical rehab exercises are not very sexy
- I’m feeling a bit furtive finding private time with all my paraphernalia such as the large ungainly vacuum erectile device
- It’s different in the bedroom with my partner.
Integrating penile rehabilitation with sexual play
My wife suggested a middle ground between clinical rehab and hot sex. You might call it an exercise playground.
The way it works is like this, about 5 times a week. First, we check with each other if we want to share “my exercise.” If it is a yes on both sides, then we continue with loving cuddles and really connecting with each other as partners. Yoga is about flow, right? At some point, she will say to me “why don’t you get out your pump?” And I’ll do just that. It’s ungainly. I had to get used to being open about this disability in me. I have to accept my need for a pump and the health benefits of bringing blood into the affected tissues.
We stay close, cuddled together in bed during this awkward pumping process. It’s the partnered yoga of penile rehab and I can feel the loving support easing my discomfort. Once I am pumped up, I remove the pump, leaving a ring tight enough to retain at least 75% of my erection. Then she takes some lube and begins to stroke me in a semi-erotic way.
Now I am able to do what the physio ordered: practice pelvic floor exercises with at least a partial erection. And it feels so good to have my wife’s loving and sexy support.
Penile rehab builds the base for erectile function
With my wife sustaining the erotic part of the process, I can focus on the exercises. And we can both monitor whether my erection can “keep it up.” One exercise variation I often use is built by Pierre Röscher on Craig Allingham‘s design:
- tighten to 25% muscle exertion and hold for ten seconds
- increase to 50% of full intensity and hold for ten seconds
- up to 90% for ten seconds – squeezing those front pelvic floor muscles as I learned in the ultrasound session
- back down to 50% for ten seconds
- 25% for ten seconds
- relax completely for ten seconds
I repeat at least 6 of those cycles. It is remarkably difficult! At the end, I usually find my erection is at least as firm as at the beginning. This is hugely encouraging for somebody recovering from ED.
Then without any touch, I practice those penile twitches the physio prescribed. At first I couldn’t even get to ten. Now after a week I am comfortable with 15 and setting a goal of 30. I haven’t had anything like as solid as this for more than six months. So it is hugely encouraging to see and feel my penis bounce discernably and almost stand to attention on its own.
My conscious muscular control is slowly reaching out to integrate with the unmanageable parts of erectile function (the parts controlled by our autonomic nervous system).
Overcoming isolation and embarrassment
I feel scared and embarrassed to share this process. My wife is clear that it’s normal to need a bit of help with my rehab. She also reminds me how I was able to support her rehab after a knee operation (where there was a brilliant recovery roadmap). However there is something about my male psyche that easily reverts to embarrassment about anything other than purely natural and reliable erectile function.
The way we are now combining my penile rehabilitation with loving sexual play is an important part of my “coming out” and integrating my private cancer experience with the wider world. It has been a first step to share it with my wife. Now it is quite another big step to share the story with you in this blog.
Hopes and dreams
Who knows? I believe the two of us are inspired to carry some of the energy generated in semi-erotic penile rehab into more directly sexual connection.
I am beginning to feel that might be possible.