I bet your all wondering how people with a stoma have sex? Come on I know your all curious!
The truth is most of us do have a healthy sex life, may that be in a long term relationship or casual sex. It just takes us time to adapt and go through the cycles of emotions which enables us to eventually feel confident enough to be sexy in our own skin. To rock a bag isn’t easy, it takes time. To allow someone to see you naked without a stoma is nerve wrecking but to be naked and have a stoma makes you feel even more expose. I think the first step in rekindling your sex life after having stoma surgery is to be confident in your own skin, know what you like and dislike, be honest with yourself. Following stoma surgery your advised to refrain from sex for 8-12 weeks, maybe longer if you’ve had your anus and rectum removed. So as you can imagine your body has gone through major trauma, not only physically but mentally. Low esteem and sex drive is reported as the most common changes following this type of surgery, due to the formation of the stoma, anxiety surround it being new and and scars and wounds. So its important that you recuperate and feel ready for sex, that might be 2 weeks post op or 20 weeks.
Any major surgery can cause nerve damage, but having extensive bowel surgery such as having a stoma formed or having the rectum and anus removed can cause nerve damage to the vagina and clitoris and can cause erectile dysfunction in men. Women are informed that the removal of the anus and rectum can cause the vagina and womb to fall back in to the empty structure once occupied by the rectum, this can cause severe pain and discomfort during sex. Some women also loose the ability to produce sexually aroused vaginal lubrication, which again can be embarrassing and cause discomfort. However, most women report loss of stimulation from their clitoris, feeling like their vagina is closing up due to swelling or getting intense pain.
If a man opts to have a ken butt, his anus will be sewn shut meaning if they are in a homosexual/heterosexual relationship he wont be able to engage in receiving anal sex. Also, its reported most men encounter some degree of erectile disfunction following this type of surgery. Which can massively impact the capability for males to engage in sex.
I’ve personally encountered many of the complications associated with the removal of my rectum and it’s effect on sex. Following my first stoma surgery I experienced terrible cramps in my rectal stump following sex, many times I’d have to run to the bathroom as I’d feel like I was gonna shit myself but obviously that can’t happen due to my anatomy. It was awful, as much as I loved being sexually active I couldn’t enjoy sex. Which had a knock effect with my mental health, I felt like a fraud- a woman who couldn’t satisfy her long term partner. So when the doctors offered to have my rectum and anus removed I was ecstatic. However, looking back I wish someone would have told me how for a year it would effect my sex life. Like stated above my cervix and womb has tilted backwards which is incredibly painful and frustrating as deep penetration is very uncomfortable. I also intermittently struggle to ‘self lubricate’ which can be such a mood spoiler, hobbling to the naughty tin for lube! Luckily I’m with a long term partner who is incredibly supportive but I can imagine women who are single would find this embarrassing, trying to explain you are turned on but your anatomy doesn’t always show it. Luckily I still have the feeling in my lady garden which I’m grateful for.
During sex my bag has exploded on many of occasions, we laugh! I run to clean my self up and my partner changes the bedsheets. The we rush back together and rekindle the intimate time. There’s been times during rough sex I’ve covered him in poo hahahaha not knowing if it’d poo or you know what! I wasn’t this confident when we first met, since my stoma I’ve only ever had one sexual partner. I was very lucky to meet someone who wasn’t fazed or turned off by my many scars and stoma. Who let me figure myself out first but gave me the confidence that I was just as sexy as any other woman without a stoma. Who encouraged me to rock it instead of hiding behind a long t-shirt. I’m incredibly lucky to have someone who loves and devours me and sees past my stoma and sex issues.
There are many products out there which can help ostomates feel comfortable and sexy enough to want to engage in sex but first you have to be ready. Once you’re ready here are my tips:
• There are 2 companies who produce underwear specifically for those with stomas for both men and women. I love the Jasmine Stacey collection but love vanilla blush. Vanilla blush has crotchless knickers which are also high waisted for those ladies who wish to keep their bag hidden but can still be just as naughty.
• Buy some lube- have it stashed in your top draw that way your always ready, don’t be embarrassed to use it. You have a right to enjoy sex.
• If you don’t feel body confident wear a baggy t-shirt or buy some lingerie you feel sexy and empowered in.
• Men- don’t be afraid or embarrassed to use viagra, you’ve got this!
• Go Free- Empty your bag before things get heated. I use a hair grip to fold my bag in half so it isn’t flapping around/
• Stoma covers and caps- If you want to go free but would like to cover your bag up there are some excellent products which can make your stoma bag look pretty. You can even choose the material and design.
• Sometimes you have to be creative and brave and try new positions, find what works for you.