That Sucks: Husband Forgets How To Have Sex After Surgery

Having a major surgery is supposed to cure whatever it is that ails you, but every procedure comes with risks and potentially dangerous side effects. For one Seattle man, a life-saving surgical procedure left him living with a peculiar and life-altering side effect: he forgot how to have sex.

In an essay at Salon, Sonya Lea writes about her husband Richard Bandy’s experience after having an intensive surgery to treat a rare form of cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei, or PMP. The procedure, which involved bathing Bandy’s abdomen in “hot, tumor-killing chemicals,” went horribly wrong. As 32 ounces of blood flooded his abdomen during the surgery, Richard Bandy’s brain was deprived of oxygen for a “critical time.”

Both Bandy and his wife knew that brain injury was a potential risk of the procedure, but didn’t expect that it would impact their active intimate life. “We’d been making love for decades, since we were teenagers. We had throw-you-on-the-bed-and-multiple-orgasm-your-heart-out mature sex,” writes Lea. After the brain injury, Richard had forgotten how to be a great lover, and lost all memories of their previously racy and robust sex life.

But Richard Bandy is not without lust. Lea likens her husband’s post-surgery sex drive to that of a teenage boy, with all of the awkward fumbling that comes along with it. Because her husband’s short-term memory loss is so severe, Lea spends her days teaching Bandy about French kissing, touching, and the mechanics of having sex. In the essay, she mourns the loss of her husband’s personality and sex drive, but she’s lovingly working to help him regain all that he’s lost. “In the process, our sex will become less fixed on duplicating the intensity of the past, and more like who we are now: friendly, enchanted, relaxed.”

Aww. It seems to have gotten awfully dusty in the room where I write these words. These are the stories that help restore my faith in humanity. Sonya Lea is left to mourn the loss of the husband she knew before the surgery, and Richard Bandy is left with figuring out how to live his life again. But through all of the struggles and spats and setbacks, this couple will have each other to help navigate both of their new lives. 

Image: Bustle Stock Photo

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