Sex is a perfectly normal part of adult life and it is completely acceptable to worry about how your current or future partner may react to you having an ostomy. I believe that current partners come to terms with it differently if the surgery is emergency or planned; yet it may be difficult to know when to tell future partners about your stoma – are you upfront or do you see if it is going to go anywhere before you tell them?
For me personally I was pretty lucky that we knew about my surgery in advance as I fought to get it for 6 months, 00Steve just wanted me better and he knew it maybe an adjustment but it would be worth it if he got his wife back. I got a stoma “training” pack and stuck on a sponge stoma and an ostomy bag, then stood starkers in front of 00Steve and asked him did he still find me sexy. He looked me up and down and said I was but the bag wasn’t. It hasn’t once stopped us from any “adult fun time” although we have had to experiment as he found some of the bag openings scratchy so we have tried various underwear or bag covers to help minimise any issues. Now after two years of being an ostomate we don’t really notice the bag any more and can laugh off the noises which embarrass me more than they do him.
But what is it like if you are new to the dating scene and have an ostomy? There are two sides to this those that whether they like their ostomy or not appreciate that it has given them their life back and DON’T care what a new partner would think and those that regardless of how they feel about their ostomy DO care what a new partner would think about it. I asked in the PW ostomy support Facebook group on how they felt.
I personally think it is a shame that so many people worried about future relationships because of their ostomy and it does make me glad that I have 00Steve. The general public in time I hope won’t have an issue around ostomies as so many people are raising ostomy awareness and that it is a POSITIVE thing but can still be private if the person so wishes. We do all poop or pee and if us having an ostomy has saved our lives or relieved us of horrific pain then it should be celebrated or just appreciated. Having a bag doesn’t stop you being sexy or having a belter of a personality, it just means you go to the toilet differently!
The general consensus from the people who weren’t bothered was “If they don’t like it tough!” which I think is an amazing way to look at it! Don’t worry if you haven’t reached that stage yet because your journey can take time and that is perfectly fine; focus on feeling comfortable with yourself a little at a time and you will get there. Just remember there are plenty of people in the same boat or have reached happiness with their stoma that can help you along the way should you need it; one group in particular is the Purple Wings ostomy support group linked above.