“He understood and cared enough to have learned the importance of foreplay and always included it in the first two minutes of his six-minute repertoire. But after my hysterectomy, I just couldn’t face it anymore. I’m only 32 years old for goodness sake.”
It’s amazing enough that men and women get together in the first place when their fundamental sexual needs are so disparate. A man’s sexual peak is in his early twenties, whereas a woman is in her late thirties. Men are easily capable of arousal to orgasm within minutes in their twenties whereas a woman of the same age may need five or six times as long. Most heterosexual men find their partner’s vagina all they need to attain orgasm; most women rarely attain orgasm through penetration alone.
When couples go for psycho-sexual therapy, many are surprised to find half of it deals with sexual myths and education. Our most powerful sexual organ lies between our ears. Young people may go out into the world well-versed in geography, biology, and maths but when it comes to finding their way around each other’s bodies and understanding how to give sexual pleasure, it just doesn’t seem to add up.
As the years go by, both are aware that there’s something missing, probably assuming that it’s all the other’s fault because that’s easier to live with. Both share the vulnerability that ignorance brings each protecting the other from the loss of face involved in the admission that he/she doesn’t know what her/his sexual needs and preferences are. Then the advent of a hysterectomy forces the couple to confront the issue head-on.
The disparate needs referred to earlier will have to be discussed, maybe for the first time in the relationship. A loving couple can avoid the minefields of perceived criticism and blame by concentrating on the positives “I love it when you do that – can you do more of this”. This is nearly always heard as “You’re a great lover and you give me so much pleasure” There should be no need to say what you don’t like – that will be dropped in favour of the positive stroke-earning technique in pretty short order!
Many women will be so relieved to be freed from the problems necessitating hysterectomy, that they will throw away the part pack of tampons and never look back. An almost equal number of women will only find that release after a gentle and loving adjustment with their partner to the different way their sexuality functions. This working together to find a more satisfying way of relating often induces a closer bond than they ever thought possible. Sadly, for a number of couples, the relationship will be unable to withstand the issues involved and each will go their separate ways.
Losing the Woman Within is essential reading for everyone who feels they are alone and emotional following a hysterectomy.