In January, I was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer. On the same day, I started a testosterone blocker. The doctors warned me that this meant my sex life was over.
That night I looked at the first pill, ululating with grief over what I was about to lose. Nine months later, I can no longer remember what all the fuss was about. I boasted to my woke teenager that I am now on the list – LGBTQIA. “Which one are you?” she asked, sceptically. “A,” I replied; for asexual.
I now find sex incomprehensible, even though I had always been an enthusiast. My inner Sid James, the bit of hetero blokes that goes “phwoarrr” at the sight of an attractive woman, has been banished for ever, to be replaced by a benign old gentleman who thinks: what a pretty frock that lady is wearing. The grief was short-lived, because I am changed. Intimacy with my wife has changed, too. Intimacy, it transpires, doesn’t need to be sexual. There is freedom in that. Sophocles was asked, “How do you feel about love? Are you still capable of it?” To which he replied, “To my great delight I have escaped from it, and feel as if I had escaped from a frantic and savage master.”
Like Sophocles, I’m glad I’ve escaped.
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