Sexual Relationships

Many worry that they will have an accident during sex. Other excuses to avoid sex may be made rather than broach the subject with their partner.

Bowel problems can affect your relationships, both emotionally and physically.

“It is only natural for people with a problem like faecal incontinence to worry about how the problem will affect their interest in and ability to take part in sexual activities. They may worry even more about how the problem will affect their partner’s interest in the sexual side of the relationship. Or how and when to tell a prospective partner about the problem, and how the person will react.” (Keeping Control: Understanding and Overcoming Fecal Incontinence, by Dr Marvin M Schuster and Jacqueline Wehmueller, John Hopkins University Press)

It may sound difficult, but the best course of action is to talk to your partner about your problems and fears. Once you have discussed this, you may still have concerns about the practicalities of a sexual relationship. You may be anxious about continence devices getting in the way, such as stoma bags.

To help you to continue your sexual relationship you might want to consider the following:

  • Empty your bowel before sex (ask your continence advisor for advice).
  • Cover the bed with a towel or waterproof backing.
  • Light some scented candles which can create a romantic atmosphere and also help to mask any potential odours.

These tips may help but again, speak to your partner and see whether you can come up with other ideas together. Nobody can understand your body or your relationship with your partner better than you do. You may find there is a time in the day when your bowels are more in control.

Most people can learn to cope and manage their leakage better. This may mean adjusting medication and diet and often takes time. If you feel you need more advice in this area discuss it with your GP or continence advisor so they will not be embarrassed.