Navigating Intimacy with an Ostomy: Tips and Experiences


So, now we've reached one of those topics I might not have the easiest time discussing, but I'm going to try, because, after all, this is still a huge thing when you have an ostomy.

As I've written before, having an ostomy causes no limitations per se, and that is true with sex as well. Any possible limitation probably exists only in your own mind. At least that's the way it is for me. Obviously, it's no secret that neither having the ostomy itself, nor having an ostomy bag like this dangling off my stomach, is very sexy.

Generally speaking, I'm actually okay with having the ostomy, but one of the few times, where it's not such a great thing, is when you're fooling around with the girlfriend. So, in this particular situation, I am glad to have met my girlfriend, so I don't have to go out scoring every weekend, because I probably wouldn't be too comfortable with that. But, of course, anything is what you make of it, and if I were 18 years old and single, I guess it would work itself out, after all you learn to live with it and deal with it as well.

Well, the first time I was fooling around with my girlfriend, I was pretty nervous too, although not about what she would say about it, because we had already talked about that, and she said she had no problem with it. The problem was probably just me. I'm not very comfortable with laying around in my bare stomach making out with my girlfriend, so in the beginning I always had an ace bandage around my stomach, so I had control over the ostomy bag. If I lie close to my girlfriend, I can feel the bag, and then I start to notice it being a bit noisy, and then I can't really concentrate on having a good time. So, the first few times we were messing around, it was kind of hard for me to stay turned on, because I was thinking about all sorts of other things. Now I've gotten used to it, and it's not like you have to lie right on top of each other, of course you have to be a little creative. Another thing that can be a turn-off is if the ostomy farts or stool enters the bag. When that happens, it's hard for me to think about anything else. I'm not sure if my girlfriend notices that something is entering the bag, but it's definitely something I'm aware of myself. I always make sure I empty the bag before we fool around.

These days, when we are having a good time, I still don't like for my stomach to be bare, so now I always wear a T-shirt, which still keeps the bag in check a little. My girlfriend often says I should take off my shirt, since it wouldn't bother her, but I'm not particularly comfortable with that. Maybe that will come in time, but I actually doubt it.

The downside of having to empty the bag and put on a T-shirt, is that I'm not always able to be as spontaneous as I could be, but you learn to live with it.

Best regards



I've had my ostomy for 50 years, and have been divorced now for more than 20. Before you can expect to be comfortable with a partner, it's really important to be comfortable with yourself and the changes to your body. That's easier said than done and it does take time. But take the lead from your girlfriend... if she's comfortable... then push yourself to believe her. I'm actually more self-conscious about my weight and stretch marks than I am about the ostomy bag swinging around. I've tried folding it in half and taping it to my skin... and that does work for a limited amount of time. But the man I'm seeing for the last year has made me feel so comfortable that I don't worry about it at all. But if it still concerns you, try what my friend uses. There are very small pouches... about 4 square, that have no spout and so can't be emptied. She said she would change the pouch before intimacy or having sex... I thought it would ruin spontaneity, but it's worked for her. Try not to overthink it... and stay in the moment. I sometimes cringe if I think about what I really must look like. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


What's it like, they ask, ya know wink wink, is it over fast, does it cause an awful stink? My reply to what's their name, why would it be not the same? At the start, we laugh, touch, and giggle, not worried about what's in the middle. The passion grows, the love flows, we still manage to stretch and bend, kiss and cuddle right to the end. I say to them who like to ask this, love has no prejudice.

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I use a bandeau to hold the bag, and it makes a great difference in my confidence and enjoyment during sex. My sweetheart likes it too.


Is there no cure for this ostomy? I think cannabis oil that cures cancer can get rid of this so-called ostomy.

How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Van Guy, I have never heard of a Bandeau. Will you let me know what it is? Thanking you, Shaun.


Gunner, it's commonly known also as a tube top. Since I'm a guy, I usually don't pay much attention to where to buy women's wear, but in this case, you can find it on the web - search for I ordered online - very happy with the results. I see today the 6 bandeau is on sale - gonna order a few more in different colors.


I purchased a Stealth Belt online and actually wear it from morning through to bedtime. I find that it helps keep the ostomy bag close to my body and less visible under clothing. I initially wore a T-shirt for those intimate moments, but with the Stealth Belt on, I'm quite comfortable taking my shirt off.


I have been with my husband for more than 10 years. He was with me from my first colostomy to an ileostomy and through all the surgeries in between due to complications. At first, I would hide my bag, but one day he told me to get completely naked. And when I did, he said that he loves all of me and that he didn't think any difference of me. And that even with the bag, I was beautiful to him. Now, I am not embarrassed about being naked with him, and we have a very good sex life.


Bandeaus are available at The Bay in Canada for about $16.00. XL is good for a 30 plus inch diameter. They are good for day or night.


I agree with blueonthetyne and laidback. I have had an ostomy since 1989. Divorced 11 years later, and have been dating for the past 15 years. I found the few persons whom I have entrusted with sharing my body have been very curious, kind, and supportive. Choose wisely who you are with, and if you are not comfortable, neither will they be. Love has no prejudice.


I'm a gay woman and I've had my colostomy since 2009. I've not dated since. I am very comfortable with my new body, but not enough to begin a new relationship. I also am new to being open about my sexual preference. I just enjoy my life and take it all one day at a time!


I have the partner's point of view. My spouse, who has had his ileostomy for ten years, always empties his ileostomy prior to sex because ileostomies can fill up so fast. The biggest issue I have is with the frigging clip. Sometimes it digs into me. I also don't like the feel of the plastic next to my skin. I'm looking at pouch covers just for sex since he's unwilling to change the style of bag he uses.


Hi California nurse, I have had my ostomy for more than 50 years (my ex-husband had one too), and my appliance uses the friggen clip as well. It not only gets in the way during intimate moments, I think I can see it through my lightweight summer clothes. But believe me, it's a vast improvement over the rubber bands we used to use. They created hard rubber balls that would often get caught in pubic hair....his and mine. You might want to try my solution with the clip. Ask your partner to fold the clip under the pouch against his skin. He can use a piece of tissue if it annoys him. He can then tape the clip to the underside of the pouch, and even tape each side of the pouch to his skin. I've found that there's still enough room in case there is some output, but it keeps the pouch from dangling, from getting caught and pulled out of place, and YOU won't feel the clip digging in. Sometimes these little things get magnified into big issues, but with a little experimenting, problems can be resolved. I haven't figured out the plastic next to the skin as it's really never bothered me or my partner. But if it did, I'd try the pouch covers or the tube tops some people were talking about. I was thinking of going to a fabric store to find some sort of stretch fabric to fashion something that will be a custom fit. Doing that might work for you and your partner too. Good luck to both of you.


Hi all, I cut the elastic waistband off of an old pair of my underwear and slide it up under my pouch and pull the pouch and clip up over my stoma area.


If he will not try a closed pouch for the moment, you are stuck. Companies will send you a free sample. I would give that a try. As for a cover-up, put a towel between or use a scarf or sash like Zorro. Where there is a will, there is a way. Think outside the box. Oops.


We have found that a tensor bandage with a thin strip of Velcro sewn onto the end works extremely well... Fold the bag in half, and wrap the band around your torso a couple times, and the Velcro will hold the end down tight! It works really well and will hold through most acrobatics that we get into. Also, it can be rolled up real tight for packing for travel, and it mostly matches my skin color...

Hi all,This is my first post on here, and oh what a topic. First of all let me start off by saying I LOVE life and LOVE my ostomy. It gave me a quality of life back that I never had, including the ability to have sex with out having to go to the washroom a million times. I have had Crohn's since the early age of 6 years old, with well over 14 surgeries and stroke. I stayed in pain for years out of vanity because I didn't think anyone would want a person with a bag of poop on his hip. Why would anyone want that??? Finally at 21 I had no choice. It was do or die at this point. So I went ahead..... Now I had to deal with the inevitable intimacy part. I was scared!!! What do I do? I was young. I didn't want to take up celibacy. So I tackled it like I would anything else. Confident (Confidently scared Lol) and Head on! I realized fast that I was my main concern. I was more caught up with what people would think then they were. So I had to make myself confident about it first. I started by making sure my pouch felt comfortable. This meant for me that I didn't want to feel a plastic bag. Physically see biohazard. Hear a plastic diaper sound when I moved, or smell like I was trying to hotbox her without even pulling the covers over her head. Oh and I needed to make sure it didn't blow when general physical activities where being conducted. I knew once I could accomplish this I would be more confident and comfortable.Back then they did not have the fancy cloth covered tan pouches that they do now, so I took some silk material and an old fashion needle and thread, and created a pouch cover with a draw string that nicely with go over my pouch. This accomplished noise reduction, a nice feeling against my skin and my partners, and was just like anyone else wearing silk boxers. For the smell I always made sure I changed my appliance prior (if I could pre-forecast), and always sprayed a light linen spray (Jasmen from Avon worked the best) on the outside of the pouch and on the inside of the slip cover. I found this gave me confidence to the point I completely forgot about it, and so did the partner I was with.As a footnote, with the new bags today that are cloth covered, if they are too long and get into the way, use a small piece of medical tape and attach the bottom to your leg.All that being said, (and now that I sound like a pig) be comfortable with yourself first, and those that are around you will be comfortable with you.

Hi Legal....great post, and I so agree with you. I just posted something similar (about being comfortable with yourself, before anyone can be comfortable with you) to the guys who were asking if anyone sent nude selfies.... I actually answered them. Keep posting. You have a lot to share with others who are having a difficult time.


I got an ileostomy in November 2014 and I minimize its presence for sex by wearing a t-shirt and tucking/rolling the emptied bag up under the ostomy belt along with the shirt-tail. I'm also as comfortable with the situation as one can be :) With that said, however, my wife (an LPN who should know better) has not desired me at all since the operation - I sincerely hope I'm the only one with that kind of hurtful issue...


Oh, Karl, I feel for you. The seeming rejection of you and your ostomy may or may not be what it seems. In either case, it shouldn't be terminal. There can be several reasons for your wife's reluctance to become intimate again, and you won't know what the barriers are until the two of you can discuss the situation frankly. She may find your ostomy distasteful. Medical professionals are not immune to the ick factor that people associate with bodily waste. I experienced it myself prior to my husband's ileostomy surgery, and got over it in about 5 seconds. If she does have an aversion to the ostomy itself, I'd recommend joint counseling for the two of you. She may worry about leakage or hurting you during sex. Her issues may not center around the ostomy at all. If you had ongoing physical problems before the surgery, she may be emotionally spent and depressed from the worries that go with a protracted illness. She may have physiological issues that decrease her libido and make intercourse uncomfortable (read: menopause). But you won't know what the problems with intimacy are until the two of you have an open and honest discussion about them. Sex and/or marriage counseling may help facilitate the conversation. Chances are, she misses the intimacy (nearly) as much as you do. Good luck, I'm rooting for you.


Hi Karl, California Nurse has some good suggestions. It may not be the ostomy at all. I have several friends who have sick spouses (some who will not get well). They've shared that they lost sexual interest in their spouse while they were so ill, and for the one whose spouse recovered.....she's also had a difficult time. Some of it is emotional/mental. When you regard your spouse as a patient for a long time, you stop seeing them as a sexual partner. It's taken my friend more than a year to rekindle that spark again. She still loved her husband, but she'd turned off the sexual feelings (for him) and both of them needed to seek therapy and make the decision that they wanted to regain what they had lost. If it's truly the ostomy, then talk to your wife to see what solutions might work for her...and for you. After all, you go through to get your life health back, this situation can be disheartening. Give it the time it needs....Best wishes..Marsha


Thank you for the heartfelt comments!


I was wondering when is the right time to let a potential date know you have an osteomy. You don't want to get attached and drop the O bomb. I'm older and would like some input. Also, where is the best place to find a mate? Thanks.


That post was from 2kids. Thanks.


Hi two kids, I'm Marsha, and I'm not much older than you are. I have had my ostomy since I was 15, so I dated the first time around, and I can't say it was all that easy back then either. I wasn't sexual after my I didn't feel I had to tell anyone, unless we were getting more intimate....My clue then was if hands went below the neck, then it was time to tell. But I've been divorced now for more than 20 years,...and how times have changed!!! We're older, and mores are a bit different (3 date rule) so it puts more pressure on us to reveal. But if I don't think that the person will be sensitive and understanding, then I don't all. I guess it's an individual choice. For some men, it doesn't make a difference, and for others, the thought may just freak them out. I don't think there's one best time. I'd rather get closer to someone....and feel that there's something possible there before I tell. Sometimes, I've told someone too soon, and they haven't gotten a chance to know me better. But if they are squeamish anyway....there's nothing you can do about it. Trust yourself to know when and if....Best of luck to you. Marsha


2 Kids, for me, I'm a little different. I am divorced and have two girls. I have no time to waste. So for me, when the chatting gets to the point, I am looking at going to the next step of a date, I enter into the subject. If they aren't compassionate enough or interested enough, then move on. I will say I was surprised. People have a lot of questions, but I have never had someone I cared about not continue because of it. And if they did move on, I wasn't meant to be.


Hi 2kids, Best place to find a mate? I found my mate dancing. In this case, contra dancing in Vancouver BC. I was told women like a guy who can dance. I took lessons in various dance styles - swing, salsa, tango, ballroom styles - none of which I'm particularly good at - but I kept showing up at and enjoying local contra dance evenings and weekend workshops when I was well enough to dance. Eventually, my sweetheart found me on the dance floor at my ripe age of 62. It was love from the first date, and we were so smitten with each other that the big O was hardly an issue. I highly recommend couples dancing - you get to hold and be held by and maybe flirt with interesting (or even completely uninteresting) partners, and if the big magical connection doesn't happen, there's an opportunity for smaller nourishing and magical moments that will never happen while sitting at home. Best wishes to you, Van guy BTW I gave the wrong web address for bandeaus. It should have been


There are so many factors that determine whether your ostomy will allow you to have sex. It depends hugely on your gender, age, and nationality. From the younger American male perspective:
1. Do you smell normal?
2. Can you eat solid food and exercise? Can you maintain muscle?
3. Can you wear a stoma cap and guarantee zero output by not eating?
4. Are you otherwise tall/good-looking?
5. How's your income? Can you at least afford a used sports car, DKNY jeans, and glass furniture?
These factors will determine your success with girls. If you're well off, have height/looks, and your ostomy lets you exercise, then you'll do fine. If you're a short, bald, bombed-out skeleton, forget dating. Your best bet will be to live an asexual, work-oriented life. Alternatively, do what my 5'5 cousin does and get a hooker on Friday nights. Most American girls won't date a guy his height, and he doesn't want to leave the country. A lot of the less fortunate ostomates may find themselves with a similar problem.
Also, does anyone have statistics on ostomates dating? The only stats seem to come from very small studies, which don't provide a representative sample.


Why is this thread deleting everyone's formatting? It filters out all the n chars, so we're all typing in big paragraphs...

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