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Colorectal Cancer: Ostomy

Sex And An Ostomy

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Discuss your sexual concerns and issues with your partner or person with whom you want to have sex.

  • If you keep the matter to yourself while changing your behavior, it  will send mixed signals which can easily be misinterpreted as a lack of interest in sex or in the other person.

When communicating, consider using the rule: state a belief, then a fact, then an action. For example: 

  • A fact: Ever since my cancer diagnosis, we stopped cuddling and having sex at night. 
  • A belief: I believe you are not attracted to me any more. 
  • A feeling: This makes me feel sad. 
  • An action: What I need is for you to cuddle with me at night, or reach out to me at least once a week for sex. 

Approach the subject openly, Being open avoids blame, helps you stay positive, and gives your partner a better sense of how you are feeling.

Ask the other person to discuss his or her concerns and issues.

  • It is not unusual for other people to be confused about how to behave. There may be an underlying fear or anxiety that can be reduced or eliminated with communication.
  • Try to be open-minded as you listen to your partner's point of view.

Be patient.

Keep a sense of humor. A sense of humor is a must. (If you have difficulty finding humor in the situation and/or in life, you can learn tips by clicking here.)

Consider asking your partner to accompany you to your visits with your specialist. He or she can be part of the discussion about sex and intimacy issues, as well as about possible solutions. He or she can also act as a patient advocate. (To learn about the role of a patient advocate, click here.)

If sexual issues cannot be resolved between the two of you, consider meeting with a couple’s counselor or a sex therapist. You can locate a sex therapist in your area through a social worker at your cancer treatment center or through the American Association of Sex Educators and Therapists, offsite link

More information about this subject is contained in the Main Article in "To Learn More."

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