Sex and a stoma

… or bagging a partner, when you’ve got a bag.

So you reach the stage of requiring a colostomy or ileostomy.  The surgery’s a worry, but the future is even more concerning.

You’ve battled with the pain of ulceration and the embarrassment and inconvenience of Crohn’s or Colitis – that should go, but now you’re going to have a bag sticking onto your tummy.

Will it stick on?  Will it be smelly?  Will I ever be able to go swimming again?  With self-esteem already probably low, now you must face the future with a permanent addition to your torso.

I was married when I had my ileostomy – and as far as I remember, my wife was very understanding.  We had two children post op, so things must have been pretty good.  But my marriage ended in my mid-forties, so I too have had the challenge of building new relationships with a bag.  (Or rather a relationship with a woman, while I had a bag).English: Ileostomy with one-piece, drainable (...

First the easy answers.  No it’s not smelly.  Yes, it does stick on, and as to swimming, sort of, (for a bloke) if you find some high-waisted trunks.  These three questions have all come from potential partners – I’ve found the adhesive is very strong and sex can be pretty vigorous.  (The picture to be fair, shows what I would consider to be an enormous bag – mine is about half the size).

Remember, to the outside world you still look the same.  In fact you are better than you were before – feeling stronger, less or no pain and more positive about the future.  So the image you are presenting to a potential partner will reflect those advances.

When do you mention the bag?  This blog is about me, so not all I say will apply to everone’s personality, but I hate to let people down.  Therefore, after making initial contact, (not necessarily a thunderbolt moment, but enough to know that you would like to be able to take things further if ….), I do look to mention Crohn’s pretty early on.  I don’t like the idea of waiting to the point of no return and finding out a bag is a deal breaker.  And I’ve had a mixture of responses, though mainly positive.  At least a potential partner knows what he/she is taking on.

So, the nitty-gritty, as it were.

New bag at least 24 hours before the possibility of an intimate encounter.  I find a bag Ostomy bag baseplatesoftens slightly over the first 24 hours.

Empty bag as close to the time of the action as possible.  This might seem obvious, but is worth remembering.  And my experience is that the flow through to the bag during sex seems to be minimised.  Might be a natural slow down of the gut at that time – I don’t know the medical specifics, but that’s a decent bonus.

Have confidence.  Two sexual partners have told me they have forgotten I even had a bag, which may seem incredible, but ….

So having a bag isn’t a direct route to a life of celibacy.  Beauty is more than skin deep.

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