21 November 2021: Prostate cancer has required and encouraged me to explore the softer side of my sexuality. For the past year, I and other contributors have been extolling the virtues of erectionless sex, gender fluidity, sensuality and libido that goes beyond sex. Yet there is still a part of me that wants to be hard, driving, penetrating and lustful. Even though my erections remain mostly weak and unreliable.

My new body is messing with my ancient male wiring. At times it is profoundly confusing, and at other times it is opening me and my partner up to wonderful new possibilities.

Intertwining soft and hard energies

These two parts of me, soft and hard, are in a complex dance. Sometimes they intertwine. For example I can be lustful while soft, like this morning. It was orgasmic for her, and I felt passionate and strongly aroused, but most of the time I was soft. The nearest I got to an orgasm was a mental, emotional and spiritual effusion of sparkly joy. It was wonderful and deeply satisfying. And it gave the lie to the assumption that men always need to “finish” with an orgasm.

And for three nights in a row last week we spent quite a long time connected by my penetrating semi-erection, without either one of us getting hot or humping or anywhere near to orgasm. Simply delighting in the intimate, loving connection.

Sublimating sexual energy into other activities

At other times the two parts of me dance further apart. Yesterday I felt really horny but I had other plans for the day. Preparing for my morning run, I consciously directed that sexual energy to sublimate into running. I was rewarded with my best time this year over 5 km! And in spite of my low testosterone, I found enough physical energy to continue directly into a couple of hours of really hard physical work in the garden.

There was no sexual energy left in me. At times – and this is probably a first for me in my whole life – I quite enjoyed that un-horny feeling.

Self pleasuring, hard and soft

The soft and hard parts of my sexuality often separate when I pleasure myself. In recent weeks I have been enjoying the recovery of the part of myself that is hot and hard and lustful – for which my new body seems to need single-minded attention. Sometimes I’ve been able to return to that boyish quickness, pretty much like the old days, building up and bursting over the top in a body-shattering orgasm. Sometimes I consciously slow down, staying for about 20 minutes at the edge of my peak. There’s a virtuous circle between focused self pleasuring and increased hardness, leading to increased sensitivity and so to more pleasure. It all adds up to one of my favourite ways to spend a half hour. And self pleasuring is experienced by the majority of human beings, at least at some times in their lives.

All this got me thinking about finding the softness in my own self care. I’ve been inspired to include softer and more all-over self pleasuring and I can strongly recommend it, particularly to men who have (by virtue of our natural anatomy) been extremely genitally focused. It doesn’t have to always be “rubbing out a quick one.” There is huge joy in soft sexuality, whether partnered or alone. And it’s available to anybody who cares to try it.

Editor’s notes: