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Sexual Side Effects


#1

Hi, all. I’ve lurked in the Yahoo! forum for a bit, though I don’t know if my problems really belong here or not. Please tell me if I am out of line. Since having my vasectomy two months ago I have been fortunate to have not suffered from chronic pain, just an obvious increase in testicular sensitivity… which I kind expected going in. My issues have been on the sexual side of things and heartbreaking for my wife and I (me especially). I’ve noticed various changes but here are the two major ones:

  1. I immediately noticed reduced sensitivity in my penis following the procedure. I wasn’t overly concerned at first because I considered it part of the recovery process and assumed/hoped it would come back. It never did and continues to feel strangely numb. This just kills me. It shocked me how different it felt when having sex for the first time post-vasectomy (yes, I know I’m not supposed to be doing that yet). At best it feels like I have a condom on but even that’s giving the feeling too much credit.
  2. Orgasm is in no way the same. After the first few ejaculations I thought it was just “different” and would eventually get back to what I remembered as normal. Two months out, no change. Sex is far from all about orgasm but it’s important to understand that when it’s out of the picture or dramatically reduced, it changes the entire experience. I can just tell that my balls are not involved in orgasm, which is gutting because they used to play a role. I’ve found I can have better orgasms through masturbation than sex (still not the greatest), and that’s just incredibly depressing. Like many people report, my ejaculate is more clear and watery, and I think there is slightly less, but barely. The whole buildup to orgasm just isn’t the same, too.

Anyway, depending on how this is received, if at all, I can share a few more differences and some details on my recovery process. These sex issues have just shattered my confidence and experience, and I’m incredibly depressed because of it. I’ve been seeing a therapist for about a month. I feel terrible for those of you with chronic pain and I am lucky to not to have it (and hopefully won’t).

Naturally, I was told by two urologists that these issues could not have been caused by my vasectomy. I did try to contact a few neurologists but was told they cannot help me and I’ll have to try some others. I am already contemplating reversal just to get things closer to the way they were before and do have a few consultations lined up. I am desperate. I know there will probably be no going back to the way things were completely, but this has just destroyed a gigantic part of my life. This would suck for anyone to experience at any age, but I am only 31.

If you read this thank you, and again, please let me know if I should not have posted this. I know it’s not pain but these changes from vasectomy have changed me in a very tragic and dramatic way.

-tlbtb


Erection issues 7 months post vasectomy with possible testicular atrophy / shrinkage
#2

tlbtb,

I think your post is completely appropriate – this group exists not just for pure pain issues but anything related to a vasectomy or testicular trouble. Sorry to hear of your trouble with sex… After my vasectomy I noticed sex was different but I didn’t notice decreased sensitivity. For me it almost literally felt like sperm wanted out but couldn’t get out – I also had pain issues and ended up getting reversed. The good news is that you’re still in the acute healing stage so things could definitely change… I’d probably give it a good 6-months before pursuing reversal… Especially if you’re not in a lot of pain… But I hear how emotionally draining your situation is.


#3

Thanks for responding and I’m happy to hear my post is welcome here. It feels strange not to be using my real name but I’m not so comfortable with that… at least yet. You’ve done a wonderful job with this new site, by the way.

Waiting to decide on a reversal seems like a logical strategy since that’s no walk in the park and very expensive. My problems might be amplified since going into the procedure I was so paranoid about it affecting me sexually. I’m just very hyperaware of how everything feels. I would have considered myself a “highly sexed” person going into this. The regret has been major because I had a bad feeling going in, even though nearly everything I read and everything I heard from people I knew was positive. At this point I just have to be strong and move forward (I feel like I’m whining, sorry).

Only other specifics I might add is I feel my scrotum is tight up to my body as if it’s cold most of the time now. Everything else I’m experiencing is likely mental based on my previous symptoms, including some difficulty maintaining an erection and somewhat decreased sex drive.

If anyone has any questions or comments about their own experience from a sexual point of view feel free to let me know!


#4

I definitely have experienced the sexual side effects. I believe this affects a much larger percentage of men than we are led to believe. I lost a lot of penile sensitivity after vasectomy.

Like you, I kept hoping it would come back, but it never did. YMMV. It seems a bit better now but its more likely that I have just accepted it as the new norm. I could produce an orgasm in a ridiculously short period of time before, now it is like 20-30 minutes on a good day. The build up is longer due to the lack of sensitivity. I know that’s probably not what you are hoping to hear but I can only tell you from my own experience. Like you, I had very high sex drive prior to the procedure. Now my libido is way down, even post reversal. I rarely get “morning wood” anymore. Orgasms are definitely better after reversal, but not what they once were. Erections are better, but again not what they were before.

Don’t let these doctors tell you that you are crazy. You are not. I know from my own experience. I had similarly had 2 urologists from the practice that did mine tell me the same thing. One of them even used the word “impossible.”

If you have no other physical pain related to vasectomy, you are getting good advice to wait a few months and consider your options after you have had more time to reflect and see where you are at down the road.

Don’t feel in any way guilty about posting. Post-vasectomy and testicular pain comes in many forms, mental as well as physical.


#5

So thankful to see your response, mar2k. I’m sorry you’ve been in a similar situation for some time and while the reversal helped with your orgasm and erections, didn’t exactly fix the issues. I will give it some more time and stay as positive as possible. That’s really difficult to do given that evidence suggests I’m fucked longterm. At this point I will wait a few months to see how/if things change before seriously considering a reversal. I still look forward to a reversal consultation I have with the International Center for Vasectomy Reversal in Tucson, AZ, as I understand they’ve had men come in for reversals for reasons similar to mine before and they are one of the best options in the United States. I am going to ask as many questions as possible, that’s for sure.

Anyways, thanks again.


#6

Hi, everyone. I just wanted to post an update on my situation in the event anyone was curious what I was doing about it.

I had a lengthy conversation/consultation with Dr. Sheldon Marks (profile here) about my issues. Like some of you alluded to, it would be jumping the gun a bit to seek a reversal at this point for these problems. My body is still healing and adjusting; that includes my brain. I’m trying out an antidepressant to help with my depression (one that doesn’t cause sexual side effects) and will see how that feels. I’m also getting my testosterone checked early next week, and unless it comes back high, will start treatment for 3-6 months. It would have been nice to know what my baseline was before the vasectomy. I literally have every symptom of low testosterone so I’ll be shocked it it comes back high.

I’m also giving acupuncture a try. From talking with one of the acupuncturist in my area, there are actually a few men who have come to him after vasectomy because of reduced sensation in their penis, too.

If you have any advice, thoughts, or comments - short or long - please let me know! Thanks for reading.


#7

Dear tlbtb
We would be glad to talk to you if you are interested and may have a few other options that you may consider.
Thanks
Sijo Parekattil, M.D.
The PUR Clinic, Clermont, FL


#8

This is just hot off the press - its a recent study in Rwanda on vasectomy sexual side effects - just got this figure that you may find useful:

Could not upload the image - will try another approach
Dear Vic - how do we upload figures?
Thanks

Link to a precious paper by this same group:


#9

Here is figure displaying reported sexual side effects after vasectomy in a recent study from Rwanda:

Link to a previous paper by this same group:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/229799539

Hope this helps


#10

This is so interesting… thank you for sharing this recent study, Dr.! I wish I weren’t in the extreme minority but I do “feel” like my condition is improving. My orgasms have gradually started to feel better; it’s probably a combination of legitimate improvement and getting used to how things are now. I wouldn’t call them the same as before but it’s closer. I’m exactly three months since my vasectomy today. Unfortunately, sensation in my penis remains the same and less than it used to be. I have been using Man1 Man Oil occasionally to see if it helps; so far, no real change.

I am always open to hearing and understanding more options from experts at the top of their field like yourself, so I may give your office a call to set up a brief chat to discuss other potential options. Thank you so much for offering.

As a follow-up to my personal situation for anyone following this thread, I came back with testosterone level of 733, which is OK. While I have no idea what my baseline was before vasectomy, I’ve decided to NOT go forward with testosterone therapy because of that number. I also stopped using an antidepressant as I didn’t like the way I was feeling on them. While I understand they take several weeks to reach their intended potency, I simply couldn’t sleep and hated the “floaty” feeling I had all the time. Since stopping those several weeks ago I generally have a more positive outlook mentally now.

As always, if anyone has any questions (nothing is too private) let me know.


#11

You could also check your Vitamin B12 level - low levels also seem to be related to chronic pain. May be worth checking.
Thanks
Sijo Parekattil, M.D.
The PUR Clinic, Clermont, FL


#12
  1. I agree that Testosterone will probably not help your sexual side effects. You are at a great number. I doubt your pre-vasectomy numbers were significantly higher.
  2. I agree you could considering checking B12. The “normal” range can vary from 300-900 but we generally shoot for B12s to be over 1000 (can be done with weekly injections or daily pills).
  3. Have you thought about trying Viagra/Cialis? It may help boost your confidence and help compensation for some of your current side effects. Just a thought.

Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD
The PUR Clinic


#13

@mar2k, you mentioned you also lost penile sensitivity. Have you ever considered that it could possibly have something to do with lower testosterone from a varicocele? You can obviously answer that quickly if you don’t have that problem, but if you do, like me… perhaps that has something to do with it?

I have a varicocele on my left side. I had it prior to my vasectomy but my vasectomy made it worse and more pronounced. I read this article about the relationship between varicoceles and reduced testosterone, and this account of someone having success from treating it.

Most interestingly and related to reduced penile sensitivity, a smaller flaccid penis, and a seemingly shrinking left testicle (things I’m experiencing) - though this article doesn’t mention vasectomy - this post contains a response by “megazoid” that is super interesting. He is basically suggesting a hormonal imbalance is to blame but goes into some nice detail. As far as what to do, he posts again in the thread that he advises taking zinc, vitamin E, and having a varicocele fixed if you have one. Again, this is really interesting to me and all it’s taken is a couple articles for me to sincerely want to get my varicocele fixed. Like I said, I honestly believe my left testicle is smaller and it’s not descended like it used to be… and in fact, goes up in to my body as I approach and have orgasm. This didn’t happen immediately after vasectomy but gradually has become a strange issue.

As I mentioned in my latest post my testosterone levels came back OK at 733 but evidence suggests this could still have something to do with my problems.


#14

Sorry @S_Parekattil_MD, I didn’t see your post.

If you use the ‘@’ notation to address someone like @victor - the person addressed will get an email notification.


#15

Since experiences are most useful to others when they are updated regularly, I wanted to provide the latest on my post-vasectomy situation. To recap, I had my vasectomy November 22nd, 2013. I will be exactly six months out in four more days.

Pain

  • Thankfully I’m still not experiencing pain often, and the pain I do experience is minor in the sense it doesn’t hurt super badly. It still pisses me off and reminds me that I’m an idiot. Occasionally my left testicle feels congested and there’s a shooting pain. It’s kind of like my testicle is going to implode from the inside out. It seems to happen when I’m lifting heavy things, physically active, or I’m feeling around my testicle and touch myself “wrong.” Weirdly, I also sometimes feel really congested/heavy when I wake up in the morning. Again, my pain is nothing compared to most of you, it’s just annoying and induces frustration that it’s happening in the first place. Generally speaking, my testicles often just feel heavy… or something.

Sexual Symptoms

I previously complained of reduced penis sensitivity and orgasm sensation.

  • Penis sensitivity is still not what it was pre-vasectomy. However,
    I’ve noticed that sometimes it feels much better than other times. I
    swear, sometimes it’s more of what I remember from pre-vasectomy and
    other times it has that strangely numb feeling. There is definitely a
    mental element at play here along with whatever is happening physically. I really don’t understand what’s happening but I do understand one thing: I’ve decided I can live with
    this happily. If I focus on just having fun and am relaxed it’s a
    complete non-issue. I do have a fear that this lessened sensitivity will become an issue when I’m older, but I shouldn’t be concerned about that. I want to go as far to say that I do not regret
    having vasectomy because of this side effect but that might be going
    just a tad too far. What’s helped me is solely focusing on the
    positives: it still feels good to be touched and to have sex, and I
    do have more control over my orgasm when having sex. The latter was
    honestly not a problem before (I’d say if it was) but
    additional/complete control is not a bad thing. The biggest problem I’ve always had with this was initial penetration - something that’s
    just fucking awesome and feels so good - and I’ve learned to appreciate that the way it
    is now. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s still exciting. Again, if I just focus on having fun and pleasing my parter
    this really doesn’t detract from having quality sex and making a meaningful connection. Hopefully this
    made sense and I’m purposely trying to be very descriptive.
  • Orgasm satisfaction is still something that bothers me. Nothing has really changed from my initial description, I’ve just learned to not be as depressed about it. This remains difficult to describe. When I visited with a new urologist to have my varicocele checked and ask other questions (more on that later) he said orgasm is basically 100% mental and has nothing to do with my vasectomy. I want to believe this. I want to believe him, but it’s just not true for me. I told him I’d work on trying to relax more and not thinking about it. I told him I was even contemplating reversal because of this and he unsurprisingly (and probably rightly) recommended against it. He said I have to continue to think it will get better. I don’t think this is bad advice, I just refuse to believe it’s all mental. There has absolutely been a physical component to this. I feel it. I don’t have much to add here except I’m trying to make the most of my situation and enjoy it.

Medical

  • I met with a new, high-profile urologist in Pittsburgh and he diagnosed a grade 3 varicocele on my left side. I knew I had one, but didn’t realize it was grade 3. I also have a grade 1-2 on my left. I describe my testicular pain on the left side and he suggested I wait a month to see if it continued and maybe then we’d decide to treat the varicocele. Dr. Marks had previously recommended that I have my varicocele surgically repaired. Note that many months ago (after vasectomy) my testosterone came back at 733. I wonder if repairing my varicocele would increase my testosterone since I know it does for some men? Anyway, I’m on the fence about whether to go through with this or not in fear of doing something that isn’t completely necessary. My gut tells me I should probably have it treated, though, since it is grade three and very obvious (he said so very quickly). It’s possible the pain I’m experiencing is varicocele related and not vasectomy related. I think everything is related but that’s neither here nor there!

Mental Health

  • This is as important as everything I’ve said above. Like I previously stated, I stopped taking an antidepressant after six days several months ago. I hate the way I felt on it and felt better afterwords. I am no longer speaking with a therapist, though I’d like to start back up with a different one. My wife and I are separating and on our way to divorce. We just sold our house. We’ve been married since 2009 and first starting seeing each other in 2002. We have a two-year-old daughter. The vasectomy fallout is not why this is happening, but the manner in which we reached the decision is part of it. I am ultimately responsible for my own decisions but the consequences of this have brought to light some of our biggest issues and have inspired change. I hate being one of those men who have had a vasectomy only to [soon] experience a divorce. I failed to admit our relationship problems to the point I needed to prior to vasectomy. I don’t want to ramble about my relationship, but yes, there is some stress outside of just the vasectomy itself.

Here is my formula to moving forward happily. This point of view wasn’t provided by a therapist or anything, I came to this on my own. Sorry if it’s too touchy feely but it’s been helping me:

**While opting to have a vasectomy was the biggest mistake of my life, living happily and overcoming the mental and physical pain which have come from it can be the biggest accomplishment of my life. I can be strong. I can do that. It’s a decision. I will be strong. I will do that. **


#17

Hi again tlbtb,

Again thanks for your responce and for providing the link to your post. It’s so interesting that we have and are experiencing such simular issues. I beg the question to assume that our erectile issues seems to stem from the varicocele’s. I believe this as we both have had a gradual onset of erection / sensitivity probs post vasectomy. As I mentioned my variococele became worse and more physically / visually noticeable after a slow period of time post vasectomy. Again testicular atrophy (shrinkage) followed Post vas too, and its caused my left testicle to really have shrunk to a noticeable size now. I am going to ask to have surgery to fix my variococele. You say you are divorced, I think your a brave guy leaving your wife concidering your erection issues. Im scared to think if my wife left, not only due to loving her but also the fact that I may not be able to have quality sex with a new partner due to my erection dysfunction. I will be sure to update my post and keep you in light after my scan and if I see a urologist for surgery for the variococele.

In terms of a reversal, that’s on the back burner at the moment due to fear of messing myself up more. I’m terrified of developing issues later on in life, and worry that I only have a short window of opportunity to try and get back to my natural self to post vasectomy through a reversal. However I’m just too worried to mess with a reversal currently in fear of making a bad situation worse. Hence I’ll get my variococele fixed first, then see where it takes me.

Even though I’m able to have good days with sex, I still need to work so dam hard to stay hard by being very stimulated physically and visually, although some days I can be stimulated in all forms my erections are only half the girth and quality to what I used to have. I’m bloody gutted due to this fact as I’ve always had a good quality erection that never failed myself or failed to please my wife, or for that matter any of my previous partners. Take care for now.


#18

Hello! I’m extremely overdue to provide an update since these personal accounts aren’t near as helpful if not updated at least semi-regularly. I apologize to anyone who may have been curious to know how I’m feeling recently, particularly because I noticed this thread has the most views on the forum. I’ll be to the point. I’m 32 and it has been almost 15 months since my vasectomy.

Physical Changes

  • Orgasm: I remain certain that the intensity of my orgasms has been reduced because of the procedure. This is not a psychological issue, it’s a physical one. I will never accept being told by a doctor or anyone else that this side effect is not possible. It is and it happened to me.

  • Penis: My penis is not quite as sensitive as it used to be. I sometimes think that I lost a small amount of circumference as well, but will readily admit that could be psychological since I never measured myself before. @syberk1d has experienced a change in circumference post-vasectomy.

  • Testicles: Firmer, seem to change in size frequently, and lumps form at the base occasionally.

  • Scrotum: I had a varicocele on my left side pre-vasectomy. It became more pronounced (diagnosed grade 3) after vasectomy. It’s not painful. Briefly considered treating it, but decided not to.

Mental/Emotional

Generally speaking, I am quite happy and am having enjoyable sex with my girlfriend of six months. I am not depressed, though I sometimes think I could probably benefit from speaking with a therapist regularly. I still think about my vasectomy in one way or another very frequently - almost daily. In the back of my mind during and after orgasm, at least briefly, I sometimes think in a critical way about how it felt. Thankfully, thinking about how much I love the person I’m with typically overcomes any negativity. I rarely think about penis sensitivity; I’m essentially over it. Testicle “play” is less enjoyable than it used to be, and sucking on them must be done incredibly gently. The idea is more exciting than the actual physical experience, which is why it’s still worth it. :blush:

All in all, I obviously wish I hadn’t had a vasectomy but it hasn’t ruined my life. It almost did, but I made it through. I am fortunate to not have chronic pain (I hope I never do), and I have sincere sympathy for those who do. I do not recommend sterilization as a method of birth control to anyone - male or female. When I tell a man that I’d recommend he not get a vasectomy, I always accompany that with that doesn’t mean I would recommend his wife or girlfriend have her tubes tied. I wouldn’t. I simply don’t believe in it, and that statement has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with when you unnecessarily destroy the human body you’re asking for trouble.

As always, if anyone has any questions please let me know.


#19

I have a huge mass of nerves, varocele whatever on my left side. I had one prior but the vas made it much worse. Plus I believe my upper vas def has a knot in it that causes a lot pain. Now calling it my horn because when looking at my sack you can see the bump. That f-er is the bain of my existence right now.

But my penis is going thru all kinds of sensations. Today it actually felt normal no tingling or numbness etc normal to touch and peeing.

My question is was the de-sensitivity immediate after your vas (i’m one month and scared)?


#20

2 posts were split to a new topic: Has anyone else experienced increased sensitivity?


#21

How are you doing now?

I felt less sensitive immediately after my vasectomy, yes. I didn’t know IMMEDIATELY as I wasn’t touching myself, but at seven days I did and it felt different immediately. That has never changed, but it’s the new norm and I’m used to it now.