The Mighty Logo

A New Paradigm for Making Love With Prostate Cancer

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Michael Russer is a fully impotent prostate cancer survivor and Jacqueline Lopez is his partner. They are international speakers, authors and radio hosts whose primary mission is to help cancer survivors and their partners achieve extraordinary levels of emotional and sexual intimacy in the face of their cancer. Their latest book is Return to Sex & Intimacy — For Cancer Survivors and Their Partners is available in print and Kindle on Amazon. You can read more about Michael and Jacqueline and their mission to help others by going to

We live in an over-sexualized society, and it sometimes seems that our cultural narrative often defines “making love” as just having sex.

The question is, how many of us truly equate having sex with making love? If making love is merely the physical act, then the “making” part plays the dominant (if not exclusive) role. We suspect many feel there must be something deeper, more intimate, than the physical act, to deserve the tender moniker of “making love.”

In our earlier years, sex and making love were no different for us — and most often, rather unsatisfying for all involved. Michael’s prostate cancer-induced erectile dysfunction was an unexpected invitation to discover other ways of being intimate, including ways beyond the physical. By accepting that invitation, we discovered the “space” we create during intimacy is more important than what we do with or to each other.

A good friend of ours shared how she and her husband first “made love” on the dance floor at a local bar. She went on to say how their every move conveyed a deep sense of mutual intimate giving that describes a much higher form of making love. This caused us to realize so many couples have sex, but rarely make love.

That’s when it occurred that the notion of what it means to make love is worth re-examining.

We have the same experience as our connubial, happy-footed friends. Anytime we walk, sit together or hold hands, we are making love. Most of the time, when we kiss, we are making love. When we lay together and listen to each other’s hearts beat, we are making love. We’ve made love at the movies, while eating ice cream, walking on the beach or enjoying a concert.

From this perspective, our lovemaking never stops. For us, making love is the selfless act of giving and receiving mutual connection, awareness and touch. From this perspective, making love requires neither a bed nor functioning body parts. One time, we made beautiful love simply by staring into each other’s eyes and synchronizing our breathing.

When we climax, it is only one aspect of our lovemaking experience. That singular result never defines sexual intimacy for us. When the physical part ends, we are still making love as we lie in each other’s arms, savoring our intimate connection. Thus, our sexual intimacy is enhanced beyond description.

Michael Russer and Jacqueline Lopez

So, next time you and your partner prepare to make love, consider what that means for your relationship. By incorporating this richer paradigm, your experience of intimacy will likely attain significant new highs. This is a repeatable and profound intimate experience of which no prostate cancer, scars, or impaired body function can ever deprive you.

This post was originally published on the ZERO — The End of Prostate Cancer blog.

Getty Images photo via Ridofranz

Originally published: December 14, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home