Seeking Love: Overcoming Ostomy Bag Stigma

Oct 18, 2013 2:31 pm

I am 28 and gay with an ostomy bag. I feel like the only one, even though I know there must be others, I don't know any. I am concerned that I won't be able to find anyone who will date me because I have a bag. The possibility of ending up alone scares and depresses me. I truly want a partner and family one day and I just feel that people may discount what I have to offer simply because of my ostomy bag.

Oct 18, 2013 4:14 pm

I often have the same feelings as yourself. I have had relationships but they have never really amounted to anything even though I wanted them to. I now feel as though I am destined to be single for the rest of my life. I'm not sure whether that is my own insecurity allowing me to believe that. I am certain that there are people who will accept us, stoma and all. I'm sure you will find your Mr. Right one day. xx

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Oct 18, 2013 5:49 pm

I'm sorry you haven't found your Mr. Right yet, but when you do and they accept your stoma and that you have a kid, you will know you found a gem.

I thought it was scary to come out with Crohn's but Crohn's and the ostomy is a whole new bag of chips. I know sex will be different too and that a partner will need to accept some limitations.

I think you are right and there are people out there, but the question is, are they most of the other qualifications we seek in a partner? I am not picky, but I don't want to settle on things like values, personality, and some physical attributes that are important to me. I just don't want to invest in someone only to get hurt when they find out. I also don't want to advertise myself as the ostomy guy on dating sites because I think I'll never get a date.

Oct 19, 2013 6:08 am

I'm sure I will find my knight one day and try to remain optimistic. And yes, you are right if he accepts my stoma and my son, then I know I have found the right one. That said, my son and I come as a package, although my son lives with both his moms. I co-parent with a gay female couple.

transmission man
Oct 21, 2013 10:22 pm

Hello, you're not alone, my friend. There are, I'm sure, a lot of us out here looking for that right person, and it's a big struggle for sure. It may not happen right away, but when you least expect it, someone could come along. You're still a young guy, so just keep your chin up, keep busy, and it will happen. Leave a message anytime. I'm here for you, Terry.

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Oct 22, 2013 1:06 am

To be honest, I'm afraid to even date. I just don't think any guy could find me physically appealing with a pouch, especially my high output one. I don't even know how I would broach the topic that I have a pouch and can't have some intimate activities.

Oct 22, 2013 2:28 am

Honestly, gay or straight is not the issue. Being secure in yourself is. Go about getting strong with your own inner self and values and all will fall into place eventually. Practicing gratitude for all that is good in your life is very powerful and will change your whole outlook as well as attract more to be grateful for. The universe will send you what you focus on. Grievances or gratitude. Your choice. Think of your life as a bowl. If it is full of grievances, there will be no room for the good stuff to get in.
All the best!!

transmission man
Oct 22, 2013 10:56 am

We have had to deal with all the changes in our lives, gay or straight. And in the gay world, it always seems to begin from the waist down. But there are good guys out there that will see you for you. I haven't found that one yet, but you need to keep strong and love yourself again, and it will happen. I'm sure, Terry.

Oct 22, 2013 11:33 am

Hey, with time you will look at things differently. The pouch will become just a minor inconvenience and less of a one you will see. There are a lot of good people out there and you will meet one of them. Just give it some time. Most of all, do not withdraw from life. You have too much to give and receive.

Oct 24, 2013 4:12 am
Hi all,

I'm replying to TJames and Crohn's guy.....but this is really for everyone.... Gay, straight, ostomy.....bald....short, fat, tall, blond, brown or red head....

Viking has the right idea....It's the way we feel about ourselves that is the most important part of "acceptance".

How and when to tell is a personal choice, but after the "greater world" knowing about me as a child....I decided I wanted anonymity....

Eventually, I married a man who had an ostomy, and while we had that in common, we had little else and the marriage fell apart.

My ostomy was never an issue for me...when dating.

I was more upset and insecure about my scarred up body (stretch marks) stretched out breasts (from a back brace I had to wear), and my overall appearance.....since I was overweight.

It was easy enough to hide the ostomy under clothes....even bathing suits.... but the other issues plagued me throughout life.

It's only now, that I'm 65, and still dating, that I have a better sense of self and self-esteem that gets me through the "reveal".

It's not always easy, but if I really like someone, then after one or two dates, I tell....sometimes it's too soon, sometimes it matters, and other times it doesn't.

One guy was really accepting....and we dated for a while, but I was amused at his question.... He wanted to know if I could still have "anal" sex. Duh....I haven't had an anus since I was the best way to answer was to "let him feel". His reply was ....Hmmm I guess not...I try to rely on humor....humor and more humor.

I was dating another guy for a while, told him about my surgery.....and he didn't seem to have an issue with it....He asked to "see", and I accommodated....Thought all was well, until I gurgled, and it seems that was the "deal breaker for him". Didn't get that....It was ok for him to fart....from behind, but I couldn't..... such is life....

Best of luck to all of you out there trying to connect....Have kissed many frogs......and haven't met my prince yet....but I try to remain optimistic...
Oct 24, 2013 11:31 am


That was a wonderful reply. Thank you.


Oct 26, 2013 3:08 pm

Thanks Immarsh for your reassuring words, much appreciated. I am certain I will find my Mr. Right one day. I think my negativity comes from previous rejections and my confidence has taken a bit of a knock. That said, I know that not every two people are the same and one day I will find someone who can see beyond the stoma to the love I have to give. Cheers again.xx

Oct 29, 2013 5:36 am

Thank you all for your replies and words of encouragement. I think it's true that self-acceptance is critical and that brings on confidence. I think partners often find confidence to be a sexy attribute and reassuring. It's just all new and frightening, I haven't even had the energy to go on a date yet but I hope I meet someone caring who won't judge me for my bag.

Immarsh as for noises, there are those stiflers that may help.

Oct 30, 2013 4:34 am

I would like to add another thought to this conversation. There is actually a blessing to be found in this new chapter of our lives. The "Universe" has brought this unusual challenge to our lives and has demanded that we grow in many ways to become richer, more compassionate people, understanding of others, more tolerant yet less tolerant of intolerance, kinder to ourselves and hopefully others, more mindful of our well-being, and less focused on physical name a few. The kind of person we will finally meet that will step up and see us for who we really are will, in many cases, be a deeper, kinder kind of person than we may have attracted before. Don't you think?

Oct 30, 2013 6:04 am

When I was back in school, a Jesuit teacher, no less, theorized that we should all be born with a large "G" imprinted on our foreheads, reminding us that we have a continuous obligation to "grow" through all our experiences and become better persons. Vikinga has similarly invited us to grow in many ways and become people that matter. Our adjustment to ostomy life can indeed open doors and challenges to each of us far beyond all expectations. What may appear as one man's burden is often another man's passport to a life worth living. Think about it.

Nov 03, 2013 1:57 pm

I definitely think that by virtue of our experience, we are more likely to draw a more genuine and compassionate person to our lives. That being said, how the heck do you find that special person in a world full of jerks?

Nov 03, 2013 2:23 pm

When you find the answer, buddy, let me know. Jerks seem to be all I attract lately!

Nov 09, 2013 8:17 pm

Dear crohnsguy84, there are people out there who will love and accept and want to be with you just as you are.

Past Member
Nov 09, 2013 9:16 pm
One's stoma is also known as a jerk detector.
Nov 09, 2013 10:03 pm

I wish I could say that was true, but sadly I've met some jerkasauruses who weren't turned off in any way by the bag. People who are jerkasauruses in many other ways may not be about the bag. Don't count on it being a jerk detector. I found that out the hard way.

Nov 11, 2013 8:52 pm

I don't know any others either, not personally anyway. I've had an ostomy all my life but I still feel down at times. Trust me... YOU ARE MOST CERTAINLY NOT THE ONLY ONE*

Past Member
Nov 16, 2013 5:37 am

I have been repeating what others have said about one's stoma. I am sorry you got hurt.
Nov 18, 2013 12:37 am

I used to get hurt as a child more because no one wanted to be my friend. The two reactions I always got were either sympathy or disgust - nothing else. I thought I was destined to spend the rest of my life alone! But I was so wrong. I told Jay about both my bags just two days after meeting him. I'd invited him to watch DVDs at my flat - he started to move his hands to cuddle me, one hand reached my stomach - I knew he'd feel them. I went into the spare room where I kept all my clean bags - up to that very second I had no idea how I would break the news but then it hit me! I picked up one of my clean bags and hid it behind my back until I got in the room. I told him to brace himself, then I placed the bag in his hand and said, "Do you know what that is?" He said, "Ah... One of them bags?" I said, "Yes, I have to wear them." His immediate response was, "So what!?" I couldn't believe it. Then I said, "I don't just have one, I have two." Once again he said, "Do what!?"

Nov 18, 2013 7:37 am

Honest, direct people are in such short supply in today's world. If you find one, never let him or her go.

Nov 18, 2013 3:20 pm

Texas, I am happy to hear that the stoma largely did not affect your romantic life, but I think it's probably a little different for lesbians. Among my lesbian friends, they are more open-minded, whereas many gay men are more critical of body image. I know there are good people out there, but it's nerve-wracking thinking about the possibility of rejection.

Nov 18, 2013 5:07 pm

To Chronesguy84, you're right in that the reactions/responses of men and women are quite different. Although I found that (even though the tone may lean toward 'disgust') men are more likely to give the more honest response. Whereas the majority of women will try to give a reaction they feel you want to hear. But if you reveal the big Stoma secret(s) the way I did with my husband, then I 100% guarantee you will get a truly honest answer!

Nov 18, 2013 5:22 pm

Texas, I'm a big believer in universal jerkiness. Men/Women, young/old, any country, race, religion, etc. Anyone from anywhere has the potential to be a jerk (or a heartless, brain-dead twat). It takes more effort to be nice and like someone than it does to dislike them.

Nov 21, 2013 8:56 am

Hello, I know this is a guys' site, but I had to jump in and say we women have the same experiences that you do. I personally think you may have it a bit easier to just explain that the back door is closed, everything else works above average. I am sure there are guys out there that would love love, so keep looking. Us females have to listen to much more of what we can do and how than you do. I dated three guys pretty close together and felt an obligation to inform them of my colostomy. This joker assumed so many things that couldn't be done and walked away. I have shied away and dated a guy with an ileo, and believe it or not, neither one of us noticed we had anything different. I was just glad to see it could be done, but he is married and will stay that way for a while anyway. Don't give up on the bag LOL ;Joyce

Nov 24, 2013 8:02 pm
Actually, my back door is open, but I'm not sure if it would be safe to swing the door open, so to speak!
Feb 14, 2014 9:50 am

I've had a stoma since I was 2 days old and at the age of 50 this year, I am in a civil partnership with a wonderful husband of 17 years. You can have the life you want if you want it enough, and the fact you have a stoma will be no real barrier. It might take you down a path you didn't expect, but that isn't always a bad thing. As with anyone, I would say focus on the other things in your life, and before you know it, you will find yourself with someone who is the one for you and who doesn't care about the stoma, etc. And yes, I was told that years ago and scoffed at it. How wrong was I? Have faith in yourself as a person who matters and deserves the same as a stoma-less person.