Answers to your questions about sexuality and love life (Part 1)

A few months ago, I asked the blog team to collect your questions and concerns about sexuality and love life. I asked them to do so for three specific reasons. First, I wanted to better target the difficulties and challenges that you have encountered since your body changed to make sure that the information provided is useful. Second, I wanted to address the problem of accessibility to specialized sexology resources found in many regions of Quebec. Finally, I’m convinced that being better informed helps in enlightening important aspects of our lives. Thanks to every person who shared their questions with us. Your participation reflects how important the sexual and relational dimensions are to you. In this first part of my article, I gathered some of your questions under two themes: the announcement of the ostomy to a new partner and the sexual positions. Please note that I’ll go on answering your questions in future articles.

The announcement of the ostomy to a new partner

You are there! You have met someone and you’re wondering about the perfect moment to talk about your ostomy. The answer to this question is simple: it's the time that suits you the best. Stop waiting for the perfect moment and try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Always remember that, one day or another, everyone has to reveal parts of themselves that could scare the other. Be reassured, the fear that the other person ends the relationship by getting to know us better is part of any new relationship.

There is not a specific way to take this step, but I still believe that the following suggestions could make it easier.

  1.  Intuition will indicate when the time is right for you. When the time comes to approach this subject for the first time, you’re going to feel it inside of you. Some people will share this information at the first meeting and others will prefer to wait to know the person better to make sure the trust is established. Take the approach that suits you the best. It’s normal to want to please and showcase our most beautiful charms first. Nevertheless, it’s important to let the person know you in all that you have to offer. If you are one of those people who tends to avoid the difficult subject as long as possible because you’re too nervous to tell them, know that the passage of time won’t reduce your anxiety. In fact, the opposite effect could occur, especially if you begin to really like this new person.
  2. Authenticity is also going to be a valuable ally for you when you choose to speak about your ostomy for the first time. Stay true to who you are when you make the announcement. Some will do it with humor, others with emotion. Make this moment a privileged access to many aspects of yourself by choosing an environment or an activity that you like. For example, if you’re a nature lover, you could reveal your situation during a hike as it’s an activity that you enjoy and makes you feel good. By choosing a context which reflects who you are, you’ll put yourself in reassuring conditions and it’ll probably make your job easier.
  3. Honesty is important to create a bond of trust. Reveal any information that you consider relevant to understanding your reality. Also allow yourself to expose your embarrassment or apprehensions if they are present. Take the time to answer the other’s questions and do it with clear and simple words. Don’t forget that you can proceed in various stages if it makes you more comfortable.

The announcement of your ostomy will also reveal many aspects of the other’s personality. In fact, you will be able to know how this person reacts to unusual information and differences. Is this person showing curiosity by asking about your journey and what your ostomy involves? Is this person feeling comfortable to ask some questions and expressing his/her needs (seeing your equipment for example)? Is this person demonstrating openness, respect, attentiveness, empathy or an ability to play down the situation? A lot of elements are important to determine if the person matches your values nd is the partner in love you’re looking for.

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Sexual positions

By the time you feel ready to reconnect with your sexuality, you may be tempted to experiment the sexual positions you were used to before your surgery. Then, your partner and you might quickly compare the before and after ostomy and this comparison might lead you to make hasty conclusions. Do you remember how you felt during your very first sexual relationship? Were you stressed? Were you afraid to disappoint the other, of not knowing how to do it or of not being up to it? The stress created by new situations normally passes quickly. In fact, you've probably managed before to relax, be more confident and enjoy the moment. You’ll then probably go through a similar process by returning to your sexuality after your surgery. A period of adaptation during which you’ll have to tame the presence of the elements related to your new equipment, your modified body image and the fears created by any new experience. If some sexual positions you and your partner previously liked, but are no longer pleasant, despite some adjustments (wearing a bodywrap to hold your equipment for example), try new ones. There are many possibilities and you could enjoy exploring new ones. Why not use this new reality as a stepping stone to discover new options that could be highly satisfying for both of you?


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