Any adult who is faced with the prospect of ileostomy surgery wants to know how it is going to affect their sex life. But it’s not always easy to ask your doctor, and sometimes there’s no one else to ask. I had intended to write a tell-all about sex, and then I remembered that both my parents read my blog, not to mention my mom’s boss! So, I find that I feel more reserved than I normally am. If any of my sister ostomates or sister soon-to-be ostomates would like to have a direct conversation with me on the subject, please let me know and I’d be happy to contact you by email or phone and discuss details. But I would like to say a few general things here, with the caveat that my experience is mine and may or may not be the same as anyone else’s.
Yes, you can have sex after having an ostomy. In my case, it took almost three months of healing before I could comfortably have sex, but after that it was no problem. If you are considering having ostomy surgery for crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, you are probably very sick, which means that you probably aren’t leading a very sexually active life right now. I found that sex post-surgery happens more frequently and is more satisfying than it was when I was sick. How the presence of the pouch affects you and your partner largely depends on you and your relationship. I was very lucky in that not only was I married, but my husband is entirely unconcerned with the pouch. I honestly can’t say what it would be like to be dating people and having to discuss this with potential partners and worrying how they would react. I imagine it’s tough, and since I haven’t had that experience I really can’t speak to it.
I prefer to use a two-piece pouching system, which allows me to swap out my larger pouch for a smaller one whenever I want to. Honestly, I’m too lazy to do this very often, but every once in a while I will put on a smaller, closed pouch. I also really love my heart tie and my hip-T (see links on my blog) for intimacy. Obviously these are for the girls, not the boys. The heart tie is designed for this. The hip-T is not, but I find that it’s comfortable and sexy to wear it by itself, especially over a mid or small sized pouch.
This is one of those things where you’ll figure out what works for you, and you’ll figure it out very quickly. But I know that before you have the surgery, you really don’t know what you’re getting into, and so I just wanted to communicate that at least for me, my sex life is great post-op, and a huge improvement over what it was like as a sick person.
(Recently I wrote more about ostomy & sex, because gosh, this seems like something my readers are very interested in :): Here’s the link – More On Sex )