Dating/Relationships With An Ostomy: Showing Your Stoma

One of the big questions that goes through a ostomates head when dating or in a relationship is “When do I show them my ostomy or stoma?”. It’s not an easy question to answer and it doesn’t have a definitive answer.

I’ve shown my ostomy to many people outside of my family, but my stoma to only one person outside of my family. I remember the first time I showed my ostomy. I was nervous, in some ways I was freaking out. We were away at a hotel and it was something that I wanted to do, but wasn’t sure if I was ready. Sometimes taking those steps that get you outside of your comfort zone allow you to grow as a person, a ostomate and be more comfortable with it.

Diagram of the colon and a stoma.
Diagram of the colon and a stoma.

As I was in front of them for the first time I felt like there were a hundred people looking at me. I didn’t know what to do, how to act, or what to say. I still wonder if they knew how hard of a step it was for me to take. After a little while, I noticed that they didn’t care I had an ostomy hanging from my stomach. My ostomy was what allowed me to be there with there, what allowed me to be healthy, was what allowed me to live a normal life and because it allowed me to do so much it was not important.

Still it’s not an easy thing to do. Usually the decision to get an ostomy takes years. During that time we build it up in our heads, thinking we’re going to be so different. We aren’t and the ostomy doesn’t matter to most people, trust me. Since I’ve gotten my ostomy I’ve learned it doesn’t. The first time will never be comfortable, but you have to make that step because it’s not something you can hide for ever.

I still have only shown my stoma to one person. The reason why I showed it to that person was because they had made me feel more comfortable than anyone in my entire life.  Which made me less afraid to take that step in showing my stoma. But there was no fear in my body when I made the decision to take this step and thought that not having fear at that moment was rare. I wasn’t scared, which allowed me to know that they were the right person to show. It wasn’t easy still, but I did it at the same time I showed them how I change my ostomy. It turned out is was just another learning experience for both of us. They knew it was there and seeing my stoma was nothing, plus I think they liked to know the process and how it worked more. It was a learning experience for me as well, because I didn’t get the reaction I was expecting. After years of thinking before the surgery, having an ostomy would be the end of dating and that I would never be able to get to this point of showing someone my stoma, I was able to.

Now there are ways to hide your ostomy. Ostomy Secrets and other manufactures make underwear for men and women that not only support the ostomy but allow you to hide it during intimacy. This decision is up to you. To this day when being intimate with someone, I keep it hidden and not because I don’t want to show it to someone (Though if it’s early on I rather wait), but because I don’t want it waving around. It’s works out well for so many reasons to use this type of supportive underwear.

Dressed bear, Ostomy Bear, Stoma Bear.
Dressed bear, Ostomy Bear, Stoma Bear. (Stoma Wise Bear)

In the end, don’t show your ostomy or stoma to someone who you think might not be able to handle it yet or  if you think it might scare them off. There is a right time for you to do both of these things and you’ll feel it. I have had one girl who insisted in seeing it after we were intimate, but it was to early and I wasn’t comfortable. They should let you do it on your time and if you aren’t ready, they have to respect that.

Never Stay Quiet!


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