When dealing with a major health concern, thinking about how it will affect your sex life might seem petty. However, sex is a major part of many people's lives and it's a topic that definitely should be explored, especially before a major physical transformation. Because an ostomy is so visible when the clothes come off, it's wise to think about how it will affect your sex life and how best to handle it during sex.
Immediately after surgery, both partners have to give the person with the ostomy time to heal. When beginning the sexual relationship again, be sure to take it slow. It may take months before both partners are comfortable engaging in intimacy on a regular basis. When one partner has an ostomy, both partners have to be concerned about his or her comfort during sex. Most sexual positions should be possible, but the partner with the ostomy must communicate his or her needs. If any position feels uncomfortable or makes the pouch feel less secure, it's time to stop and try something else.
Psychological and emotional concerns are often the biggest stumbling block when it comes to having an ostomy and an intimate relationship. The partner with the ostomy may wonder if he or she is still desirable. In a long-term relationship, partners often can look beyond the physical change and recognize that the person they love is still there. It might help for the person with the ostomy to imagine himself or herself in the shoes of his or her partner and consider their own reaction to a partner with an ostomy. For someone who is concerned about starting a new relationship, it's often best to disclose the ostomy sooner rather than later and allow the potential partner to grow comfortable with the revelation before engaging in sex.
If time allows, be sure to empty the ostomy pouch before sex. If you're worried about odor, consider using an ostomy deodorizer before being intimate. If an ostomy deodorizer doesn't provide enough confidence, consider enhancing the mood with candles or incense. Be sure that all fasteners and adhesives are secure before engaging in intimacy. Some people with an ostomy choose to use a mini pouch during sex so that it's less noticeable. Belts or wraps that cover and secure the pouch are available for both women and men, and some women choose to wear a full satin slip during sex. Pouch covers are also an option that many people with an ostomy choose to wear.