It is normal to feel self-conscious after undergoing ostomy surgery. Most people confide that they either had a diminished sexual apetite or abstained from sexual relations altogether. In some cases, sentiments of depression or psychological issues such as feeling undesirable, rejected, or dysfunctional have set in and have played a role in decreasing libido. An ostomy and the ostomy bag might very likely affect your intimate moments. However it should not lead to less, or by any means, to refrain you from sexual activity.
Your body will need to heal before being sexually active again. After your discharge from the hospital, look to regaining your confidence with your partner a step at a time. Go for strolls, hold hands, watch a movie, or have a dinner date. If your partner wishes to get involved with some or all of your daily private routine (fixing, cleansing, and disposing the ostomy bag), let him/her. This in itself might be viewed as asexual. However it will bring you closer, and ultimately it will aid in recovering intimacy when the time comes. In general, try talking about your fears. It will help you determine what actions to take. If you consider that difficult, consider a professional or an ostomy support group to help with the transition. Remember that you are not the only one who needs help adjusting. You should both be each other’s bridge to restoring intimacy in the relationship.
When you both decide it’s time to resume sexual relations, take the time to prepare yourself for the act. Empty out your ostomy bag. If you have a two piece ostomy system, make sure that your skin barrier is secure. You need only concentrate on the love making moment. If you are feeling self conscious about seeing your ostomy bag, conceal it with a pouch cover. You will need to accommodate accordingly so as not to press the bag. In fact, you both may want to consider other positions.
For single ostomates looking to resume dating after surgery, there is the quandary of talking about the ostomy. When you choose to disclose it is up to you, but it is best not to test the matter in the bedroom. The sight of an ostomy bag could be uncomfortable for somebody that is not aware of them. However once discussed, an ostomy should not deter an encounter. Use your judgment and gauge things for the right moment. Any time you pick will be just fine.
Whether you are partnered up or are looking into being intimate with a new person in your life, know that communication is key in restoring or attaining intimacy.