sex, surgery, celibacy

During the 30 days after my partner’s diagnosis and before his surgery, the frequency of our fucking declined, of necessity. He was told not to exercise or do any heavy lifting, and just to take it easy. Sex wasn’t mentioned explicitly, but we figured it would be included in the injunction – at least, the way we were likely to do it. Also, he had found that it felt unpleasant when his heart rate was up, and on top of that it was now also worrying. Our play still tended to end up with one of us getting off, one way or another, but through less vigorous means. Even so, we probably should have taken it easier than we did.

But both of us were concerned about the surgery in our different ways, and that was a buzzkill. He wanted it over and done with so he didn’t have to think about it anymore and he could just get on with his life. I couldn’t think about anything after the surgery until he made it through successfully; planning the future would have felt like wilful blindness to the fact that there might not be an “after” with him in it, even though the chances of things going wrong were very slim indeed. But we found we couldn’t lose ourselves in each other because we had to be so careful physically.

He went into surgery as a fit and healthy man with one issue: a defective valve in his heart that had recently begun to make him feel winded and worn out after only moderate exertions. So they opened him up, cooled him off, and stopped the flow of blood to his brain for over 10 minutes, and when they were done, they put him in ICU in critical condition. That’s the way it goes. Pretty much routine, and yet still scary as fuck. When I spoke to the surgeon afterwards, he told me that there was more damage than he had expected, and I was left with the impression that we’d had a nearer miss than we realized.

They let him out of hospital after a week. Since then his body has been working hard to heal the incision from the top of his ribcage right to the bottom, the punctures from the angiogram and IV and surgical drains, the plethora of needle pokes. And he is getting better. But he is tired and has lost weight and now looks ill in a way that he didn’t before.

Sex? No way. During the first two weeks, I got myself off a few times. I found it easier during that week when he was in hospital because I was home on my own and could listen to the quiet voice of my own desires. I managed to make myself cry once. That was a first. I tend to get good orgasms when using the right toys, but they’re not usually as intense or satisfying as the ones I get when playing with my partner. When I cried, it didn’t relate to any specific thoughts – there weren’t any thoughts, just a bubble of emotion that burst. Perhaps it was a formless, wordless sadness generated by what was going on. Or maybe it had no significance and I just did an excellent job of getting myself off that time. Who knows?

By the end of his first week home, my desire wasn’t exactly gone. More like it was being outcompeted by other needs. There were a couple of times when, having woken in the morning but still being too tired to get up, I laid in bed resting and trying to distract myself with sexy thoughts. Sometimes the thoughts were just fun, sometimes they were coated in a layer of guilt. By the time I was ready to get up, there might be a vague throbbing warmth between my thighs. Sure, I could sort myself out. The Hitachi was handy, though the Pure Wand wasn’t; I could just use the one that’s close enough to reach without getting out of bed. But it wouldn’t feel as good without the other and I didn’t want to get up. And then there’s the fact that he was there and I feel self-conscious about masturbating in front of him; maybe we’ll work on that someday but today is not that day. Ah, fuck it. Easier not to bother. The feeling of arousal was faint and if I tried to act on it, the orgasm would likely be disappointing. I had no way of getting myself any more wound up so that I could extract a satisfying orgasm. The arousal was faint enough that it would go away soon if I ignored it. So I ignored it. I was tired, needing to feel desired, needing to feel nurtured. I hit a wall.

A couple of days later, he was finding it easier to let me get close. He has virtually no upper body strength right now because they cut through his sternum. His whole ribcage is destabilized until it heals, which takes a good six weeks. Right now, he’s held together with stainless steel wire. I can cuddle up under his arm and lie on his shoulder. Before, I had taken to straddling his legs, with my breasts putting a pleasant amount of pressure on his cock. This doesn’t work anymore. I can get lower and put my head on his hip, but he has lost weight and it’s now a bit bony and I think it makes him self-conscious. His body no longer feels like his own; he says he feels like he’s inhabiting a reanimated corpse. Neither of us is into zombies. But despite all this, and despite the red seam down his center and the not very small dividing sign below it, he let me see him and touch him and suck him. After, he told me that he’d gotten himself off a few days before, mostly to make sure it still worked.

A couple of days after that, we gave it another try. I stroked him and he got hard fairly quickly. We had an interesting consent negotiation. I’m still not entirely at ease with blowjobs and he knows that and respects that. So he asked if he could tell me what to do. Maybe, I said. Could he tell me to suck his cock? Yes, I whispered. He managed to warm me up nicely by playing with the notion that he was ordering me to suck his cock, when really it was an elaborate request. Although we still had to be careful physically, we were both getting used to being careful with him all the time, so this wasn’t too intrusive. And he was glad to be a little distracted from his health worries for even a brief time.

Last weekend, we had our first post-surgery fuck. From behind, so there was no issue about supporting his weight with his arms, or my weight on his chest. I couldn’t see any of the healing scars, or his thinness. Though the IV jabs on the backs of his hands are still healing, all I was aware of was his hand grabbing my hair and controlling my head, neither gently nor roughly. He was tentative and slow.

He came hard, taking brief pleasure in the one physical signal that still says “Yes! Good!” Then, as the endorphins were already subsiding, he savored those few moments when he still held the fading feeling of pleasure (so quickly turning to memory), while the feeling of ill health rushed back in to replace it.

25 thoughts on “sex, surgery, celibacy

    1. Thanks for your comment. One thing that has been a bit of a surprise for both of us is that the psychological effect of the surgery has been profound. We didn’t realize that depression is apparently very common after (I don’t know if that’s heart surgery specifically or major surgery generally). The physical damage will more or less heal on its own (he’ll need some physio), but the psychological damage to his sense of self may require deliberate attention and care. He is also sensitive and keenly observant, so all of this stuff affects him much more deeply than it would the average person.


  1. What a beautiful note about healing and love, Zoe.

    I cried the first few times I masturbated after TN left me. I think it’s emotion, not skillful masturbation. You have lots of it for the man you love. Makes perfect sense to me.


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