Seeking Advice: Intimacy Concerns with New Partner

Margaret Hampson

Hi. I am new on here. I have been plucking up courage for months, so here goes. I had my colostomy stoma bag fitted 9 years ago. My then husband helped me deal with it and was very kind when I had problems with leakage, etc. Sex was not a big issue - we just got on with it. I wore a costume at first so he did not see the bag. We separated some time ago (not because of the stoma). We had been married for 30 years and just became fed up with each other. A few months ago, I met an old flame who I had not seen for years. The chemistry struck again. He was always a sexy man and he was a good lover. My worry is that he is unaware of my stoma, but at the same time, I don't want to finish with him because of it causing embarrassment to both of us. I hope I have made my predicament clear enough, and I hope someone out there will understand. Any advice would be very welcome. Thank you for reading this post.


Hi Margaret, I'm Marsha. It's nice to meet you. I have had my ileostomy for more than 50 years....since I was a teen. I dated after surgery, but I was young, and the guys were young, and mores were different. We didn't head right to bed, so I was able to decide after a few dates if he was a "keeper". Even making out could cause problems back then, so I had this theory: if I wanted a guy's hands below my neck, I had to tell. For some, it didn't matter, and for others it did. It's a big lesson a 16-19 year old learns. But I did marry....a guy I met through our ostomy group. He also had an ileostomy, but that didn't keep us together. We had different ways to approach situations, and eventually we divorced. I've been dating for the last 20 years and things have changed some. People end up in bed much quicker, and so decisions are made quicker. I find that after one date, I'd rather tell, than drag it out. Again.....for some it matters, and others it doesn't. Sometimes it's the way you present it. Personally, I'm proud of my "badge" of survival, and if someone has a problem with it, then he isn't right for me. I'm actually more sensitive about my weight, rather than my ostomy. Belief and respect for yourself is more important than any one person. Best of luck to you. Write if you have any other questions. Marsha

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Hello Margaret. Thanks for posting as this is a tricky subject that has come up several times before. I love to read how people feel about these things and how they eventually resolve them. Marsha seems to have mastered the concept well and has come to terms with the issues involved. Personally, I don't have the problem because I am happily married and am not looking for anyone else. However, that doesn't mean that I don't think about how I would approach this sort of problem 'if' it was pertinent to me.

In my case, I try to take every appropriate opportunity to inform people that I have a stoma and how it hardly affects my day to day life adversly at all. Sometimes this approach stimulates a conversation straight away and sometimes people come back to me later and ask more questions. Other people simpluy don't want to talk about it and I respect that position. It's a bit like talking about death. Some relish the opportunity and others shy away from the subject. I like to simply declare a personal interest and see if there is any response. Either way, there are not many people I know who do not know that I have a stoma, so if they want to talk about it, then I like to think that I have given them permission and encouragement. I'm not really interested in whether any one person responds to this particular subject, as I have a whole arsenal of other subjects that I put out in converstaion for people to respond to as well if they want to.

Best wishes




I'm nothing but an upfront person. I've always been "take me as I am," if you don't like what you see, that's fine with me," "got along w/o you before, will get along w/o you now." The only limitations I have (and I'm 74 and have had my ostomy 3 1/2 years) - is the type of clothes I wear. Most everyone knows I have it, and it's not an issue. If you're comfortable with yourself, then most others are comfortable with you. At least that's been my experience. I could have had mine reversed but chose not to - didn't want another major surgery if I didn't have to have it, and I'm glad I didn't. Good luck to you and God bless! It doesn't have to rule your life!!

Bev S.


Immarsh and Margaret, my name is Floyd and I'm in TX. And I met a woman back in 2009 on a disabled website and we dated for 2 years long distance. She lived in Colorado, so she came to visit me 3 times and I visited 2 times. And we both have spina bifida, if I spelled that right. But anyways, I got tired of TX and decided to move to Colorado with her. Make a long story short, I found out I had rectal cancer and did the chemo and radiation. The radiation burned my insides and left me with a colostomy and urostomy and melted my penis to my groin. Now I'm having to do a hyperbaric bed chamber to heal a wound on my backside. And I haven't even tried to meet any women because I'm afraid of being turned down for a relationship or even trying to get to know me. I just don't know what to do. Sometimes I wish God would just take me on up. I hate saying that, but it's how I feel. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

Oh sweetie, I can hear the pain in your words and it breaks my heart. I remember being at that point a few times and nothing is harder. I just take it minute by minute, hour by hour and so on during those times. I had rectal cancer as well with the radiation issues. We sound like a matched set as far as complications go. I know the pain! It never seems like you will feel even close to yourself again. Know that I am sending positive thoughts to you and the OP for getting through the rough patches.



Heather, thanks. You nailed it and starting hyperbaric bed chamber Monday. Don't like it, but ain't got no choice. And two things keep me sane: rock music. There's a program I listen to every Saturday night. It's called House of Hair. The host is Dee Snider. Between that and a program here in my town called Sunday Morning Revival, it's a rock station that plays 80s rock for three hours. And I do a little herb here and there. But there are many nights I've cried myself to sleep because of all this. And the woman that I did go to Colorado for, after all this happened, I moved back to TX. For a year, I had a Colorado cell number. Then, about a month ago, I changed it back to TX so the ex-girlfriend couldn't get in touch with me.


I am not in your situation; however, I was so touched by your post and the responses.... I just wanted to say that you are obviously an incredibly lovely person who just happens to have an ostomy. Like I have brown hair and need glasses to see more than one foot in front of me. If the person cares for you, it will not make a difference.

I tend to agree with the posters who say get it out in the beginning... and if your date (geesh.... I'm dating myself here - I don't even know what people call each other anymore!)... if your date has issues, it's better that they move on early rather than getting more involved emotionally.

All the best to you, my friend!


Hello Margaret, I am 52 years old. I have had an ileostomy since I was 27 (Crohn's disease since 20 years old). I dated and married my first husband through the various stages of Crohn's diagnosis and several surgeries, which left me with an ileostomy and infertility. At 31 years old, we divorced, which added low self-esteem to my list of issues. The only people I had ever told about my health issues were family and a few close friends, and I wasn't looking forward to starting over.

Within a few months, I started dating a man I met through my work. It took me a while before I was comfortable enough to tell him about the ileostomy, and while we only ended up dating for about 6 months (long distance), he really changed my outlook on life. He made me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world and loved me for me, not the package I came in.

2 months after that, I met my now husband. Again, I was nervous to tell him about my medical history... 21 years later, I realize that with age comes maturity and with maturity comes the realization that life isn't perfect and neither are people. It's your choice on who and when and how much information to share. I still choose to tell people on a need-to-know basis, and although it hasn't happened yet, if someone chooses not to be in my life because of my ostomy, I don't want them in my life anyway. It boils down to personal choice of who and when you tell, but the people worth having in your life will understand.


No, I'm not dating anyone. Too scared, basically. I'm just really depressed over all this. And I'm not taking any antidepressants either.


My husband passed away five years ago. I received my colostomy 2 1/2 years ago. I have a lot going on in my life, and to be honest, I haven't spent a lot of time worrying about dating. I'm not quite ready to go there yet. I am not ashamed of my colostomy or the fact that I will need a urostomy in the near future, but I do know that it could turn people off. I figure if I am meant to find someone again, it will happen. If not, I have done pretty well on my own so far, lol!


I'm sorry for your loss and I understand the not dating thing. And years ago, I had the chance to have my colon checked, and I was too afraid of having a small rod going up my butt that I didn't do it. Years later, I wished I would have now. I've had my ostomy for 5 years and had my urostomy for 2 years. And finding out about my penis being melted in 2013 really pissed me off, even though there are other ways to get off. Losing my buddy just destroyed me at the time, and yet it still gets me mad. I try not to think about it, but just like these 2 bags on my belly, I'm reminded every day. And that's the hardest part, not counting if my ostomy starts making noises just before it lets go. So, needless to say, I don't go out very much.


I have always been a sexual person. I have been married to the same woman for 45 years. She has stood by me through lung, bladder, and prostate cancer, the last two three years ago. She has been patient as we try to establish our sex life again. Nothing seems to work and I am now thinking of a transplant. It is for me as she loves me the way I am. I miss the closeness of intercourse. Any comment from those that had a penile transplant.


Wow! The surgeries and radiation have also taken away my ability to have any sort of vaginal intercourse. The scar tissue is so bad that it has pretty much fused my vagina shut. Plus, I have to have a urinary catheter in at all times until I get the urostomy, so that's fun! Lol! I can make some shocking jokes when I am in the mood, believe me! I just turned 43, so people are especially taken aback. A lot of people don't believe me at first. I just take care of that by looking them straight in the eye and saying "wanna see?" Lol! I will have my bluff called one day, I'm sure, but not so far.


Have just met a woman. She accepts the ostomy. Nothing has changed!


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Start taking curcumin and fish oil. Can't OD! Try it for 2 weeks


Hello, after my wife passed away after 40 years, I joined dating sites out of loneliness! I met at least 20 women! I am still intimate at 67! The ones I told accepted the stoma! One has moved in, and if one doesn't accept it, find another one! She says it's no big deal! We all have something going on at our age!

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