Sex After an Ostomy – What You Need to Know
One of the biggest concerns you may have before or after receiving an ostomy is in regards to your sex life. How will it be impacted?
We’re not going to leave you dangling. You can have sex. Lots of it. Very little needs to change, no matter how adventurous your bedroom (or kitchen floor) escapades may be. Now that you’ve breathed a sigh of relief, let’s nip your concerns in the bud so you can get back into the swing of things.
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Sex After Receiving an Ostomy
If you’ve just had a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy, it’s important to recognize the fact that you’ve had a major medical procedure. You most certainly must take the necessary precautions. The location of your stoma and scar tissue makes it susceptible to aggravation during sex soon after surgery. You will want to wait for clearance from your physician before taking on this physical activity. The biggest impediment here, is that some patients are afraid to broach the subject with their doctor. Don’t be shy. They know the question is on your mind. If they don’t bring it up themselves, then ask them. If you practice anal sex, there may indeed be road blocks depending on what surgery you had, and thus the matter will most certainly have to be discussed with your physician. One thing to remember is not to insert anything into your stoma. It is void of nerves, so there is no feeling, inserting anything could risk damage, or worse, perforating your intestine and endangering your life.
While You’re Waiting
If your site has not yet healed, you have options. Sex does not start and stop with penetration. You and your partner can make foreplay (oral, accessories, etc.) the main event until your stoma is no longer sensitive. As soon as your sexual appetite and desire has returned, you can indulge in foreplay without concern. Allow us to be blunt – an orgasm will not hurt your ostomy.
Most women maintain their prior ability to achieve natural lubrication and an orgasm after receiving an ostomy. In the rare event that lubrication becomes an issue, there are many products available at your local pharmacy to assist.
Some men experience impotence immediately after the procedure, but are able to achieve and maintain an erection weeks later. In the unlikely event that impotency remains months after, consult with your doctor and inquire about safe prescriptions.
Sexual Positions – Is Anything Off-Limits?
Once you’re physically ready to get back in the saddle, there is no reason that you cannot run through the Kama Sutra gauntlet. Yes, you may find that some positions are not as comfortable as they were before, missionary being one of them. But this will be because of your ostomy pouch.
Simple position adjustments will help, but the issue may simply lie with the product. There are many varieties of pouches with varying sizes that can improve the situation. From very small pouches to stoma caps, these products can increase intimacy in the bedroom. Choosing the right ostomy pouch will make a world of difference. In the end, you will get more and more accustomed to wearing your ostomy pouch over time, for all activities, sex included. Until then, have fun trying new positions with your partner until you find a few (or a dozen) that stick.
Odor and hygiene are a concern for many of you, given the position of your stoma in relation to the acts of intimacy. But this concern is abated by the simple fact that you have a wide variety of products available to maintain freshness if you feel the need. There are internal odor control tablets and deodorant drops for your pouch. And as with any sexual rendezvous, it doesn’t hurt to light a few scented candles or incense to enhance the mood and ease your mind.
Psychological and Emotional Hurdles
We’ll say it again. You can have sex. Lots of it. However, the biggest hurdles for many will be psychological and emotional. You may be so concerned about the perceived stigma of a stoma that you will let it get in the way of your sex life. While completely understandable, there is a clear and definable cure – communication.
An open and honest dialogue between you and your partner is the key. You may feel that your partner is no longer as attracted to you. But ask yourself, would you feel the same way about them? Probably not. They may be concerned about causing you physical discomfort, but let them know that you will test the waters (positions) together until you can get back “in the zone”. Seeking advice from other ostomates is also helpful (check this video from the 40 sec mark on)
There are other ways to feel “sexy” again. Ostomy-conscious lingerie and intimate wear has come a long way. Not only fashionable, they will subtly hide (and protect) your ostomy pouch until you become more accustomed to it. Women often start by wearing a satin slip or camisole during sex until comfort levels kick in, while men may wear an ostomy belt with a pouch cover.
Lastly, if you are in a new relationship and have yet to inform your companion about your ostomy, now is the time to do it. There should be no surprises prior to sex. If after engaging them in a sensitive yet informative conversation on the matter, they cannot seem to move past it, they may not be the person for you. Either way, be patient not only with your partner, be patient with yourself too.
Inner Good Wishes You and Yours a Happy, Healthy, Fulfilling, and FUN sex life!