Having good sex with an ostomy is totally possible. Learning how to manoeuvre around your stoma is key to learning how to keep it out of your way, and foresee issues before they become embarrassing (or really funny).
General guidelines for keeping your stoma a secret
- Empty your ostomy bag when it gets to about a third full – that stops any bulging from being visible outside of your clothes. Additionally, find the bag with the pouching system that suits you. Talk to your nurse about it. To keep odour to a minimum, talk to your nurse about deodorisers and keep some with you.
- Ask someone you trust if they can see your bag under your clothes, or hear the sounds. It’s normal for your ostomy bag to make noises and smells sometimes, which can be a cause of embarrassment.
- Experiment with clothes, and feel free to wear the clothes you love, so long as they are not uncomfortable. You can also now buy special swimsuits for wearing with a stoma.
- Plan trips, especially long flights, with extra supplies and a note from your doctor.
Sex with an ostomy – you can do it!
Once the worst of it’s over (surgery), you should expect some sexual downtime as you heal and your body recovers from such a shock.
The first problem you may face is feeling less attractive with your lovely ostomy. This is completely understandable, but it’s important to work on slowly getting over it. This is the new you, like it or lump it. Talk to your partner, take it slow, and perhaps just start out with loving touch, not straight sex.
Sex with a new partner
If you are going to be having sex with a new partner, it’s not important that they know about your ostomy right off the bat, but they will need to know at some point (because they will otherwise find out). Some people are not going to be accepting, and that’s their choice. Do what feels right at the time, and allow your new partner time to digest your ostomy. Be open and honest. It’s usually best not to wait until they take your top off to find out.
Preparing for sex
- Empty and clean your pouch
- If you think surprise sex may occur, make a habit of keeping your pouch mostly empty
- Make sure the seal is tight
- Use an opaque pouch or use a pouch cover
- Use lingerie or special cummerbunds to hide the pouch (crotchless panties, teddies)
- Choose comfortable positions (try them all!) – lying on your side may be a good place to start
- Don’t worry about dislodging your pouch – it’s quite hard to do
- The first few times might hurt a bit, so be prepared and gentle
If you have concerns, discuss them with your doctor. Join a support group online – people do this all the time!
Book to read: It’s in the Bag and Under the Covers by