Finding Love with an Ostomy: Is it Possible?

Past Member

I've already come to the conclusion that the only possibility of becoming intimate with a lady is to make sure she has some sort of an ostomy herself. That's fine and understandable, though I wish the door wasn't halfway closed, knowing I will never be accepted by someone without one.
Yeah, I know, there are a lot of wonderful, sweet women out there who will understand. If you believe that, you've watched and read too many love stories. However, my problem is with me. How can you have sex with the thought there could be the slightest chance of an accident? I don't know how people do it, but I give them all the credit in the world.

Roger that.


Roger that....
It is the same for us single women. You tell a man and he runs like hell. Have
you tried talking to any woman on this site? Good luck on your search Roger.
Sharon !!!

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Past Member

Thanks for your reply. I understand women have the same problem. I just wish I knew a better way to keep it from getting me down. I've been in contact with a few women but haven't discussed it. I guess I just have to have the attitude "It comes with the package" and neither you nor I asked for it.

Thanks again, Sharon



Yes, there are many of the opposite gender who can't quite fathom a less than perfect body as their partner (and run as Sharon says). But, frankly, once us humans get past the youth of the 20-30 somethings, few of us are perfect anymore. So, yes, there are partners out there willing to take chances with us who aren't perfect either. And I'm pleased about that .

One has to continue trying to make more friends in hopes of finding that person who likes the rest of the package enough to get past our ostomy. But that isn't so different than dating pre-ostomy, or even as a 20-something age.

And the ostomy takes more care, updating ahead of and during intimacy but one does those things on dates pre-ostomy also.

Keep looking. Keep upgrading the entire package. The reward is worth the effort!



Hi RogerThat - a few weeks back someone posted a question about ostomates that were married or "together" - there are a few couples who met on this site.

What was interesting to me was his poll about whether the respondent would rather have a relationship with another ostomate, a non-ostomate, or never really thought about it.

The majority - about two-thirds (I think) preferred a relationship with an ostomate, but the next runner up was "never really thought about it"!

Food for thought.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

OMG Ira, we're all in the same boat...everyone wants to be accepted, loved, and cherished for who they are, not for what they do or don't have. I spent 38 years with a man that I loved unconditionally. I never ever changed, but he did. So, because of his rejection, I now question if his love was ever true. I have low self-esteem. I am so self-conscious, and every time I'm in his presence, I want to crawl into a corner and disappear. I feel like I'll never have anyone to grow old with. Most of the time, I'm okay with that....I know I am a good person, and I would never ever hurt anyone purposely. I'm loyal, compassionate, and passionate. But for those of us "stuck" with our extra baggage, it's a long, hard journey trying to get past it....Take your time, Ira. Sometimes friendships can turn into romance. You seem to be a nice guy. Give yourself some time, and you may find the "one"...Fran


My heart really does ache for all of the people in our little community who have serious self-esteem issues when it comes to attracting a mate of the opposite sex. That shouldn't suggest, however, that I don't understand - because I do. People are absolutely shallow for the most part, and yes, it's very difficult to find a person who doesn't freak out when they see someone who is (God forbid) - different. A lot of the time I hear that the only reason my husband's ostomy doesn't bother me is because I was in love with him for years before he got it, but I swear that is not true. I would be willing to bet my car (and I seriously love my car) that I would have been crazy about Tyler if we had met after his surgery. Granted, there would have been a lot of curiosity and annoying questions, but I would have most definitely gotten over it and accepted him regardless.

I know it doesn't make it any better to hear someone who doesn't have an ostomy telling you that anyone who "runs away screaming" because of a silly little bag isn't worth one moment of your time, but it's true. I can't speak for the rest of humankind, and I'm not sure that I'd want to...but I can tell you that when I look at my husband (naked or fully clothed), his ileostomy is the last thing on my mind - really. He is so much more than a bag. And, he's a million things more than his lack of a colon.

Please don't give up. There are people out there who aren't narrow-minded assholes. Try to think of your bag as your personal jerk-detector. And please try not to worry about being alone - I'm sure there is someone (possibly more than one someone) out there for all of you.



Tiggy - thanks so much for your post. It's so important to remember these things. I'm rubbish at doing that and so will read and reread your words and try and take them in.
I'm newly single...and terrified!
Revel in your love you share with your man - it's obviously very special!

Thanks! I know it's ridiculously difficult to engage in positive self-talk when you're actually deep in a situation which deals directly with your own body. It's like someone telling me that my husband couldn't care less whether I'm a size 6 or a size 16. I can tell myself that until I'm blue in the face, and he can do the same, but it takes a lot of practice to actually get into a positive mindset about my own appearance. I think all people can relate to that, ostomates or otherwise.

Here is a link to what I believe was one of my first posts on this website. I wrote it a while after my husband's surgery, and it was recently published in the June issue of the Phoenix magazine. It's a stupidly long read, but if you were at all interested, here it is:

Where do I begin? I want to keep it short and sweet and know that it took some time to come to terms with it and this is what I have grown to know as the truth.

As I see myself and feel about my ostomy, it comes through in every action, word, and deed that I do. And my mate, partner, lover (as all animals do) pick up on that very scent and react accordingly.

For me, the ostomy has made me better than I could have ever been without it, and I consider it truly my lotto ticket to life. Its insights, its nuances to the very nature of mankind and his or her imperfections...

We are all so imperfect, it's just how we project or let those imperfections guide us that makes the difference. Did you ever wonder how the guy who wasn't so good-looking in high school but got the girls did it? It was his confidence of who he was and not the looks that did it...

We see it and just don't believe it, but it is true. Confidence is sexy and can hide just about anything, even an ostomy hanging off one's belly, so much so that your partner will not even see it.
I hope I am understood and my words are received the way I have intended.

Love to you all, Michael


I'm just waiting to bump bags when the opportunity comes about. I think it will be fun. I think it's a turn on to see a lady with a bag. Just waiting for the invite. Dinner first.



Roger that - I heavily agree with loren4life in that the older we get, the more acceptable we are to others' physical limitations and appearances. I've had my ostomy for 40 years. I received it in 1970 secondary to a neurogenic bladder caused by spina bifida. I can honestly tell you that I have never had any problems with finding physical intimacy with women. I think you will be surprised. Women are definitely understanding and very willing to overlook a "life-saving" medical condition and see you for who you are! If they shriek and run... they were not right for you to begin with. Having an ostomy will slow you down and cause you to get to know women better before you reveal your condition. And, speaking from experience, don't allow that to scare you either. I have had a few women that I really... really liked who expressed their inability to "handle" my condition. This is beyond our ability to control. They need, or have to accept all of me, especially since I can't change. I always found it interesting that I would inevitably find another woman whom I liked even better than the last!

I hear you when you express your concern over a possible accident during sex. What can I say, accidents are always a possibility. Like driving to work, accidents become acceptable risks that we must deal with on a daily basis. The more sexually active you become with a consistent partner, the more you will learn how and what to do and not to do during the act in order to reduce accidents!

In time, you will discover that the only person your ostomy matters to... is you!

Past Member

"Can't wait to bump bags" - this literally made me laugh out loud. Seriously, best laugh I've had all day.

- SamIam, we have soooo much in common. I also have a form of spina bifida and ileostomy since I was 4... I'm now 46. When I read your post, it was like reading my own story!

Past Member

Urostomy...not ileostomy, brain not working tonight. Ha.

Past Member

Hi all, I'm everyone's posts and can't help but laugh and cry at the same time. I've had my ostomy for almost two years now, and it's sad to say that my husband is no longer attracted to me sexually in any way. He was never able to keep his hands off of me, and now he can't get far enough. The weight gain and the bag have really shown his true colors, I guess. I'm the same inside, but I guess it's not for everyone... unconditional love, I mean. So... here I am, 37 years old and trying to understand if it ever gets better. I wish I had the confidence as many of you have. It's hard to love and accept yourself with your new accessories, let alone be loved by the one person who is supposed to be there no matter what.
Any advice???
Thanks for listening.


Hi cricket!
Nice to meet you! And here I was thinking I was unique! Without hijacking the thread, I hope we can exchange stories later!

It's hard for me to relate to your situation as I have lived my entire life with my accessory. I've never known a relationship without my ostomy. I feel underqualified to offer any advice, but I will say that every situation eventually gets better! As I've said before, how others feel and react to change or differences are beyond our ability to control. Since we can't change others, we must turn the focus on ourselves. We men can be slow to accept change, and your hubby may just be dealing with his issues by distancing himself.
For both men and women with ostomies, please remember that your self-image affects your partners as well. As Beyondpar stated, "confidence is sexy and can hide just about anything, even an ostomy hanging off one's belly, so much so that your partner will not even see it." A great starting point would be to ask yourself what, if anything, would help you to start to love and accept yourself and your new accessories and begin taking steps in that direction.

I really hope someone who has been through a similar situation as yours will chime in soon!


This post has also made me laugh..... Biker... I bumped bags with my guy for 24 1/2 years... and while we did occasionally have accidents, we had a good sex life. The turn off for him was my going back to school. He was angry all the time after that and it became worse the better I did. And when I began to gain weight, he got nasty about that.... And so the marriage ended. I'm not going to say more about him, since he has an ostomy and may end up on this site.

Acceptance is different for all people. Some big heavy guys want tiny women..... Others have preferences for blondes, brunettes, or a gal with "big boobs". One guy who didn't know anything about my surgery wanted a "smaller woman with tight skin". Women have their own criteria.... tall, short, handsome..... with hair, no hair... (Personally, I find bald sexy). And then there's the blind date I went on. When he opened the door and smiled, I found he had no teeth. My ostomy was a non-issue. He had driven two hours to meet me, and I had to go out in public with a toothless person. And although he was a nice guy, I told him I wouldn't go out with him again unless he had teeth.

My ostomy has been a lifesaver for me, and I make no apologies about that. It comes with the package that is "me". I'm willing to put myself out there, meet people, and if I connect with someone on other levels (interests, personality, chemistry) that's when I'll disclose. That could be a first date, a second, or "never". My guide is.... "IF", I think I want his hands below my neck, then I'll consider disclosing. That's worked for me since I was a teenager, and it's never disappointed me. I never want to get a "WHAT'S THAT?" in an intimate moment.

Thank you all for your input, your support, and insights....

Hi everyone

So glad someone posted this on the forum! So..I am not sorry for my helped save my life and I am grateful every day! And I refuse to let it define me as a person. However, I struggle with when and how to tell people. I am a "tell it like it is" kind of person but struggle with that one. I believe it is better to be upfront and honest with people and really believe you can do that without hurting anyone's feelings. But, how do you handle it when yours are the ones that get hurt? And has anyone noticed that sometimes it is easier to tell people you barely know about your ostomy than it is to tell people you have known forever? I have no problem with going out, being kick-ass, and having fun. But when it comes to men, OMG I am the village idiot. Now throw in the ostomy..haha..well let's just say it is not a pretty sight!! As well as living in a very small town..I mean let's face it..who doesn't want a lil umm what did bbg call it "bag bumping" once in a while..(LMAO about that term)!! But in the end, one really nice, down-to-earth guy who loves a village idiot with an ostomy would be grand!

When it comes to revealing my ostomy to potential mates, I have a strategy that works well for me. I'm not a one night stand kinda guy, so I stay away from places where these kind of encounters might occur. I've learned that it's best to get to know someone, for a while at least, before I have any expectation of taking things to the next level. While I'm a huge advocate for honesty, I try and wait until the relationship is a little more evolved before I reveal. When you give someone time to get to know you as a person, the original physical attraction will only grow stronger with the addition of a well-nurtured emotional bond and the fact that you have an ostomy becomes less of an issue. Now comes the harder part... you still must be memorable in bed! If so, they won't be thinking about your ostomy! The less she's impressed with your sexual prowess, the more that ostomy becomes a problem!
Friends, both long-term and short, are a different matter for me. I have found, for me at least, that not telling friends works best for me! Here's why... in years gone by, I have told some really close friends about my condition and it immediately precipitated undue concern, gross pity, gooey compassion, and unwarranted attention for my welfare. I can live without that! So I don't tell unless I absolutely have to! Also, remember that friends tend to form tight social groups with loose lips... people are judgmental enough, so why add to the list! As I sit here writing this, I can think of hundreds of examples that I could tell you about on this subject... I'll save that for another post.

When it comes to physical/sexual attraction, men and women are miles apart!!! The only common ground that they can share is confidence! Women are not attracted to men with low self-esteem and vice versa! No matter a woman's stature, if she's confident and oozing sexy... she can pick and choose from the tongue-wagging men at her feet!


Roger that. Love all the comments. You do know you can wear a t-shirt. I did, no problems. It's weird when you get to be an ostomate, women and men. You kind of really have to delve into yourself. Without it, we never gave a shit. Now we worry, blah blah. I BUNJEE JUMPED FOR MY 40th birthday. No one saw the pouch. I like to say pouch. And yes, I feel like a few of you as well. I am single, 43, but mate, I am great. Maybe not every day. People walk down the street, see if anyone looks at your pouch (I don't think so). Also, girls, we can be on top. I would love to meet an ostomate that I am attracted to, but most men are too far from Australia. X Mooza.


Hey, you! Do we think when we meet a guy or a woman that we have stomachs? Girls, I have worn a t-shirt. We are our worst enemies. Cricket and that other guy should hook up. Hmmmmmm.


Hi Bettyboop7,
I'm also walking in the same shoes as you. I got sick last year with ulcerative colitis. I was in and out of the hospital from December to May. I had an ileostomy in April, along with some fistula problems. This is from a person who was never sick a day in her life! I've been married for 38 years, and we've had our ups and downs like most married people. My husband can't accept me physically now. He says he loves me, but we haven't been intimate for almost a year now. We live like roommates with no "benefits". Talk about unconditional love. I've discussed divorce with him, but he doesn't want to lose all the "stuff" we've collected through the years. Selfish, I think. I've moved out of the bedroom. He thinks it's ridiculous, but I feel really rejected. At this point, I don't know what to do. Like I said, we're wearing the same shoes!


Ugh..that makes me so husband and I had a good sex life too...then 'BAM'..I got sick..had a colostomy..multiple surgeries and hospital stays and he couldn't handle it..38 years down the drain..and you know what? God forbid it had been him I wouldn't have blinked an eye..we were 'roommates' for years but I knew he was out there doing his it was over. My self-esteem sucked...I deserve better...I can be miserable by myself, I don't need someone else making me miserable...hang in there ladies..


Oh Betty - I SO share your feelings of bewilderment! My husband of 22 years never touched me intimately again after my first (temporary) colostomy in 2003. He wouldn't even sleep in the same room with me, saying I "kept him awake". He actually became downright mean after a while and even said to me "Why didn't you die?"

Well, of course later, when he was divorcing me I found out he'd been seeing someone else all along and couldn't wait to dump me and get remarried!

It takes a special kind of man to get past the physical revulsion that little boys feel in the presence of "icky" stuff. The men on this site qualify as special, but I think they are unusual. I've worked in health care for a lot of years, and I've seen men who wouldn't even LOOK at their own ostomies - forcing their wives to take care of "the bag". (These were probably the same men who couldn't change diapers either!) I've seen daughters care for their mothers' ostomies, and vice versa.

Women ARE more physically tolerant. I don't know of ANY woman that has left a man or turned away in revulsion from caring for a loved mate. Overwhelmed - yes - but not out of disgust. This may sound sexist, but it's the rare woman who will turn her back and abandon (physically or psychologically) the person she promised to stand by in sickness and in health.

Yeah, I think I'm unusual... I'm also very proud to be in a class of men that are very different than most men!

On a more serious note, Margaret, goldengirl, and Pinky, I'm so very sorry that your ex-husbands/husbands treated you so poorly and adversely reacted to your ostomies. I can't or won't even try to understand this behavior. I'm sure genetics plays a strong role in there somewhere. I think Pinky has hit the proverbial nail on the head when she says...

Most men are not cut from the same emotional and behavioral stock as almost all women! It certainly doesn't seem fair, but it is a painful fact. I would love to think that if I had never had my ostomy, I would have never acted the way your spouses did! I believe in perseverance! There are men in the world that will accept you the way you are, don't give up trying!

Thank you, Sam!


You are so welcome, Ira...
Hope you have talked to more women on this site, because I truly believe you will find your sweet angel soon.
Sharon !!!


I know it sounds so cliché, but it's so true... if the opposite sex is in any way repulsed by the fact you are wearing a bag, they are not worth it! It is so easier said than done. No one wants to be rejected! It's human nature! When you do find that special one that accepts you... warts and all... wow, what an incredible feeling! Not only to be loved unconditionally, but to have the faith and know there are truly good people in this world!! We are the lucky ones who have been through so much but in the end, we have no doubts that we are truly loved!!!

Past Member

Hey, you know what I do, I come straight out and tell them I have a stoma and that it doesn't affect me in any way. I wear a hernia waistband which hides the bag for intimate moments and I've only had one freak out. My suggestion is just be yourself and try to think of ways that give people a chance to see the wonderful person who's behind the stoma. Once they see who you are and work out that the stoma doesn't change anything, you'll find the one.


Hey Roger that, don't make assumptions about your love life. There is a nice lady out there for you. Maybe you are a little like myself, I have not put the action out there. You know you have to put out a certain amount of action in life and kinda go after what you want and need! It's been a year and 4 months as a permanent colostomy person. I have not taken my own advice. Keep your head up. Let's send each other positive energy!!!!!!!!

And so it is.