Struggling with Body Image and Intimacy After Ostomy


After six weeks of satisfying him orally, I decided that I would attempt a different way of getting intimate. I taped up my bag and got naked. Well, this ended badly. I am still not attracted to my body, and not sure what the hell I was thinking. It was very depressing. He's a boob guy and I have a feeling that me not having what I used to turned him off. He won't admit that because he knows how fragile I am to begin with. Being naked with him lasted 30 seconds and then I could not get dressed quickly enough.

October Born

Hi ycats,

I have been sick for over 2 years and have not had actual sex in that same amount of time. Like you, I do what I can in other ways to satisfy my husband when I'm not too sick to do so. We did try a few weeks ago (I was pretty much covered up), but it was so painful it was a no-go. I think it was brave of you to get naked and try even though it didn't go the way you planned. I am in the same boat you're in. I can't stand the body I have to live in. It doesn't work right, and it certainly doesn't look even remotely close to what it used to, not that I was supermodel material or anything but still. Since we tried and it hurt, now I have 2 reasons to fear trying it again. I'm sorry, but I have no answers, just wanted to let you know you're not alone in this.


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Did you have a mastectomy?  I'm not understanding your reference to 'he's a boob guy' and you don't have what you used to, making it sound like you have no breasts.  Is that what's going on too? If it's just the bag, get one of those stealth belts, cover it up (and the bag fits INSIDE the belt, kind of like a money belt).  Hell, I can give you a link for crotchless panties girlfriend, cute ones, that are made for ostomates.  I actually ordered them by mistake.  I have NO designs on pleasing any guy anymore in my life - lol.  I need to get well first, then THEY can make ME feel better:)


Hello ycats, you have a lot of courage, and don't let anyone take that from you. I've been married for 32 years, and it's been over a year since my surgery, and we tried only once. But we are more critical of ourselves, aren't we? We have pine trees, evergreen trees, weeping trees, apple trees. Is what you're waiting for the apple tree? They bear fruit and are responsible for their families. Think about it!!!! Ycats, have a good day. - angelicamarie

NJ Bain


I'm confused as well with the boob reference. I'm not asking for details, but if this guy is worth his weight in salt, and is aware of your situation, he would have made you feel as beautiful as when you were first intimate. Otherwise, drop him like the dead weight he sounds like.

I've been told the body image issue for women with ostomies is worse than for men. I've been lucky enough to never have an issue with my body but that's probably from my confidence and, "I don't give a fxck" attitude. I figure if a woman can't take me for me, they aren't worth my time. My ileostomy is kind of like an ahole detector. If a person is genuine and has an open mind, they will surely overlook something as small as an ostomy. I've only had one woman be grossed out by my ostomy and she was a good friend. She was well aware of my ostomy and couldn't fathom being with me intimately. But no worries. There were plenty of other women that easily overlooked it.

I've posted a link to this site before and am happy to do it again. I have one of the wraps myself. The link is below and maybe you will find something there that helps you.


Hope this helps.


Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

That was really quite honest what you said to ycats, and so very true Angelica


You tried to reach me in the chat room. I was asleep, sorry I missed you.... Angelica


My reference to the boobs relates to major weight loss. I have sagging skin where there once was lean muscle. It's ugly and unattractive. He feels bad, so he says, and tries to touch me. I am probably not going to try again soon. It may be more to punish him. WTF. I am truly screwed up with this shit. I loved what each of you had to say though. Thank you sooo very much. I feel better knowing that I am not alone with this.


Well, all of us sag as we get older, and it's pretty common to look in the mirror and wonder why one of our grandparents is staring back. The problem is that it's hard to be sexy if you don't feel sexy. NJ Bain has it right in terms of solutions- there are people out there and Ostomy Secrets has great ostomy products.

But maybe you need to work on yourself first and figure out a way to embrace your sexy side and embellish your positives and don't rue the negatives. You don't have to just be the previous naked person you no longer are and feel bad. Try something new, something that turns you on, maybe something nasty. There is no shortage of options if you push the envelope - lacy bodysuit, crotchless underwear, push-up see-through bra, smoke some dope (now legal in many states).

If you feel embarrassed by your body (and who doesn't as we age), then watch some porn and dress, act, play out something you might previously felt embarrassed to do. What's the difference if you are already embarrassed anyway. Find something that makes you feel sexy, because if you feel sexy and become the forbidden fruit, he will definitely get turned on and then watch out. We males are pretty predictable.



I'm sorry but I am not going to be much help in this department because I feel pretty much like you do. And I'm single. I keep thinking that maybe I might try to be intimate if I were in an established relationship ... but alas, all of my former "playmates" are just that .... just playmates and I don't feel sexy enough to keep playing. In fact, I told one last weekend "LOL-not sure if I'll ever feel sexy while being naked in front of a man". His answer: "You'll overcome. Time darlin ... a great healer. You are waaayyy too sensual to not enjoy and share that." I've finally accepted the fact that I poop different than I used to .. LOL. Now I guess I just need to learn to deal with the body image thing.


I'm a 72-year-old male with an ostomy bag for the past 4 years, and I must have turned off a woman and felt scared myself.

It's never too late to find someone that loves you for you, and making love is much better than sex... Been around the block a few times in my life. Give it your best shot.


Ostomy Secrets is a website that has intimate apparel. I have a few items that look like skirts and have pockets to put the bags in. It took me a good year before I tried the ostomy wear - but then again, I am single. I have an ileostomy bag due to septic shock, and believe me, my abs ain't pretty either.


Hey ya!!!! I would just try to overcome the fact that the damn bag is there. I'm 24, still young...and I used to flop it out all over the place (the bag, I mean). If you're alive and kicking, enjoy a good dickin..who cares if it's there or not there? It's better than you not being there with him.........


This is for you Ycats, and for Darlene, and any other women or men, who have intimacy issues...

Some of you know me and my story and some don't.

I'm 68 now (divorced over 20+ years) and have had my ostomy since I was a kid of 15. I accepted the surgery quite well, but what I had difficulty accepting were all the stretch marks, on my legs, body, breasts, arms....from the steroids I'd taken. Teen years were difficult, but I did date..

Mores were a bit different back then, and I was afraid to have intercourse, because I was under doctor and parental care until I was 19. And then, final surgery over, and I was desperate to find out if "I still worked". I had technically been a virgin, although doctors had poked and prodded every orifice I had through the years.

I was dating a guy who also had an ostomy, and he wouldn't sleep with me, unless we were engaged (Biggest mistake of my life). I agreed, we got engaged, and I/we figured out how what to do given our lack of experience, and individual surgeries. Honestly, the best part of our relationship was an excellent sex life, but the ostomy alone couldn't keep us together, and eventually we divorced, after 24 1/2 years of marriage and two grown sons.

But I learned a lot in those years (no ostomy nurses back then, so I was a "visitor") You have to like and enjoy respect your own body, if you want someone else too. My surgery (if not my stretch marks) are my badges of survival. Spending a year in a back brace (osteoporosis at 15 from steroids) didn't help my already "deformed" body, and my ample boobs (C) flopped miserably. One saleswoman in a bra store asked if I'd recently had a baby. I was 15, and I ran out of the store crying.

Weight has always been an issue for me, so in addition to scars and the ostomy, I'm misshapen from weight. But I've dated quite a bit, and find that some men are ok with all my "baggage" and others, not so much.

Does that make me vulnerable....absolutely! I could look better, if I lost some weight, but basically I'm proud of my body, and my survival. That comes across to guys who are interested. One guy I dated, looked at and touched just about every scar on my body, and said that he was "impressed" with the person I turned out to be..despite what I'd gone through. Our relationship didn't last, because he turned out to be a jerk anyway, and after 2 years, decided he didn't want to be with an overweight woman. Sigh. Can't please everyone....

Three years ago, I met a really nice guy, who has had his own medical challenges (2 strokes and a bout of prostate cancer), in addition to an adult child who has traumatic brain injury, and will always be dependent.

I didn't think anything would come of it...but here we are, three years later and still seeing each other. He gives me more than even my ex-husband acceptance for who I am....with scars, weight, ostomy etc.

At the beginning, he sensed my inhibition, and then started "tracking it". / with humor. He wanted me to feel comfortable....about my body, and with him. He's a few years younger than I am, and is still working. He teases me that he never thought he'd be sleeping with an "old" grandma.... (now he's a grandpa too).

We both have some functional issues, and he/we treat them with humor and compassion. I wiggled too hard getting off the bed and "left something behind". Not an issue, although I was mortified. He talks about "how hard he used to get", and I say, and my boobs used to stand up....and we laugh, and are grateful for another chance at happiness and sexual fulfillment.

So for those of you who are doubting yourselves....take the time to get to know your own, new body...If you love it, someone else will too...I never thought that would happen to me, again....but it has. Going through what we have gives you the strength of character to look for what you want.....when you're ready.

Best regards to all



Thank you so much, Marsha. You put a smile on my face and hope in my heart that I'll love myself again.....


Hi ycats - well here's some advice I heard at an Ostomy workshop by a fellow ostomate. I don't think it is for everybody but I have to tell you this guy was a HOOT! He had been VERY ill, almost died. Once he got his bag and his wife left him (yep!), and he started to date again, he said he wasn't sure how to handle the sex thing with the bag. What he said next made me laugh out loud. He did not tell his prospective mates about his surgery, and if he ended up in bed with them, he just went with the flow, didn't say a word until his partner noticed or felt something (or maybe smelled something? lol). He just said by that time they were too excited to care and they finished being intimate. Of course he told the story much funnier than I just did, but I thought it was great. I mean really, there is no 'right' that these potential partners have to know about your surgery or your bag. It's not like it is catching and/or what you have will kill them (AIDS or herpes). So he just went with it, and charmed them, got them so excited that by the time they found out he had a bag THEY DIDN'T CARE! :)


Lingerie Co. in Scotland. Mail via UPS to N. America. Owner of Co. is an ostomate as are all her models (this is where you'll find the crotchless underpants. Click on 'Womens' at the top tabs to see stuff other than the hernia-wear - which is also very stylish. The crotchless is under the 'INTIMACY' heading. They even have a special pair of ostomy fancy underwear for a wedding night. These designers are cutting edge.


Thank you, Harley.


I have a question. The pants I used to wear were higher waisted, which means it covers the ostomy bag and if I wear a wrap, well, the whole thing is flat. Is that bad for the stoma? I mean it's stretch jeans but definitely snug. But if I know I'm not really going to be releasing anything, is it okay for the flat stoma? It's not uncomfortable because I use the Hollister with the plastic rim that raises a little. I like wearing my pre clothes but I don't want to damage anything. Any suggestions, experiences? Thanks


Sorry, this was off topic of the above but I'm not familiar with this posting stuff!


In time, that will change.


Jay2013, you said "in time will change". I think so too. The good part is, hers is not permanent. That's something to look forward to. Have a great day, Jay Angelica Marie.


First of all, I'd dump such an uncaring guy! You went through hell and back, he should support you in every way. Personally, I'm very happy to say no man has ever rejected me physically or sexually. There is a website, I forget the name of it, but it's like Victoria's Secret that allows you to wrap the item around your waist, insert your ostomy bag inside it. It's bottomless so you can have sex! I date all the time, let your beautiful personality shine through. I feel like a warrior and I'm never embarrassed by my scars or ostomy bag! There are lots of great men out there, be strong and forget about that loser!!


I agree. I'm sure her thinking process has changed. Thanks. Have a great day.


Why on earth would you need to satisfy him orally? And then what sort of a person is unsupportive of their intimate partner? This is not on you. It is on him... he is a user obviously... show him the door.

I have had a colostomy for a year and a half, together with a humongous parastomal hernia. My partner has been quite considerate of this and we have only had sex in the traditional way once. It was apparently good for him, but for me no feeling. He has been undemanding of anything else and treated me with respect and caring.

In fact, for myself, I was recovering in a major way from this emergency surgery, which saved my life, and only now (after a year) have begun to feel like my old self.

These are major surgeries, and not a small thing. The doctors and nurses who tended to me never explained nor did they probably know just how huge a thing this is to recover from. Be easy on yourself and realize that you are more important and worth more than just to satisfy some spoiled brat of a guy.


Hello Scottie, all those who have responded have come to me. I guess it's because I was the first to comment on that matter. She will see this. I fully understand what you're saying, but she loves him!


Hi Ycats, to me you look like a very beautiful woman. I don't understand how your husband cannot see that now. Wait until he gets older. I'll bet he won't be as well-built as he was. Age does not treat everyone special. I'll bet you still look as beautiful as ever. I have had an ostomy for nine years and my wife never saw me any different than I was. If your husband can't bear to see you naked now, then I don't think that he deserves you.

Best wishes,

Dick F


Hello dfinflorida, you're at my site. I guess because I was the first that answered her, but you're sure right. She will see. Thanks for communicating with her. Everyone needs to be uplifted at times. Have a great night.


Good morning, ycats. You have gotten quite a bit of responses since you told your story. But they are coming to me. So to see them, I guess you have to visit my site. How was your day? Hope you had a great day. Hang in there!!!!!


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