Sex — nature’s way of ensuring the human race lives on. Physiologically, we are designed to enjoy it. Psychologically, we crave the dopamine rush that comes with falling for someone and have an innate desire to love and be loved. So, now that you’re an ostomate, does any of this change? No way! Although surgery can affect sensations down there, most ostomates find they can get back down to business without much of a hitch once the healing process has run its course. While that may be reassuring, you surely have lingering questions, and we’re going to try to answer them for you!
How is my partner going to react to my stoma?
If you were in a relationship before your surgery, hopefully your companion has been by your side throughout the process, and he or she will definitely have questions, just like you. Since everyone’s situation and surgery is different, talking to your doctor or nurse together about any questions or concerns you have will be helpful. It may be embarrassing at first, but know that many before you have inquired about post-ostomy sex. Most couples find that with a little trial and error, sexy time quickly returns to pre-surgery status — or even better! And if things were getting a little stale in the bedroom before your ostomy (let’s face it, it happens to the best of us), now is your chance to mix things up and get creative together!
I’m single. How do I tell a future partner about my ostomy without scaring them off?
It’s safe to say that bachelors and bachelorettes looking for love often have qualms about finding a suitor, and it’s just as natural to feel anxious about the dating scene now that you’re a single ostomate. Once you’re healthy enough to get back in the game, don’t let your ostomy stop you! If you meet someone and things begin to advance, it’s time to think about when and how to tell them about your ostomy. Although it is completely up to you, you probably won’t want to wait until D-Day and surprise your new crush in the heat of the moment. When the conversation does happen, be honest and open to questions. If they take off running, good riddance. If they stick around, let them know that the situation is new to you as well, and it’d be fun to figure it out together. If you’re having a hard time imagining how to bring it up in conversation, try making it into a game by suggesting taking turns spilling the beans about something the other person isn’t yet aware of about you. Who knows? Maybe your new beau or belle has an odd-shaped birthmark in a discreet spot or a cringeworthy tattoo they regret getting as a teenager. After all, nobody fits the “perfect” image we’re so used to seeing on TV and in magazines.
What about the logistics?
Now that we’ve gone over the pre-game plan, how is it all going to go down when it’s time to seal the deal? If you’re worried about your pouch leaking or breaking loose, get yourself a support band. By doing a simple online search, you’ll find anything from lacy lingerie styles to plain, no-frills wraps. If you’re on a budget, maternity support bands seem to work well for men and women alike, and crafty types can even make their own. Check Pinterest for ideas and patterns!
If funky odors and gas are a source of stress for you, make sure to empty your bag and avoid stench-producing foods prior to any potential mattress dancing sessions. If you haven’t figured out which foods are your usual culprits, start journaling to track what you eat and how your bag contents are affected. You can also use odor-fighting sprays and practice good stoma hygiene by keeping the surrounding skin healthy.
Some people may be more at ease using a stoma cap or a mini bag for intimate moments. If you’re sure you won’t have any output, go at it without a bag and try something like Coloplast’s Assura 1-piece stoma cap instead. If that seems too risky for you, Comfort Medical can help you find an appropriate mini pouch to give a whirl (just call us at 1-844-700-7013).
I still have questions!
While we believe we’re pretty knowledgeable here at Comfort Medical, we realize there are as many unique situations as there are individuals, so we can’t possibly have all of the answers. Joining an online or in-person peer support group can ease concerns and do wonders for confidence levels. Fellow ostomates can provide advice and information learned from first-hand experience and the reassurance of knowing you’re not alone in the quest to find affection and intimacy post-operation. Just remember, anxiety is an almost surefire way to dampen the mood, so try to relax, take it slow, and maybe even throw some humor into the situation. Your libido, and your partner, will thank you for it!