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Coming Out -- A Gay Man's Journey with an Ostomy


In my quest to find other LGBT Ostomates or information on such, I came across this nice story. I figured id share for anyone interested or who may be in a similar predicament.

"Coming Out -- A Gay Man's Journey with an Ostomy
by Fred S. -- USA

I was 4 years old when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC). Trying to cope and live with UC meant every day was filled with the necessity of making frequent trips to a toilet.

This need to use the toilet didn’t stop just because I left the house. Even as a child, I can remember when venturing away from my home, the first thing I looked for was the nearest restroom. The urgency was always there—at school (teachers had been told of my disease, so permission to leave the room to use the restroom was not necessary), at play, or when out with my parents.

Having UC caused many other medical problems too. With each change of the season, I was guaranteed to catch a cold. With lowered resistance, a simple cold resulted in two to three weeks in bed and out of school. Life was not fun since I couldn’t do the things that my brothers and sister did, or go to the places they could go because I didn’t want to be far from a toilet. It was always so much easier just to stay at home where the toilet was always available.

As a child, I also can remember that my wish was to be healthy and free of UC and to be able to lead a normal life. Naturally, my parents had the same wish for me. Every year when I had a birthday and had to make a wish before blowing out the candles, I always wished for good health.

I lived with UC for 13 years before I discovered that there was an operation that would allow me to live a “normal” life. The operation was unlike anything I had ever heard of before. It entailed the complete removal of my colon and rectum. The most obvious advantage of the operation was that I would be able to lead a normal life. However, there were several disadvantages to consider—the most obvious being that for the rest of my life, I would have to wear a bag that collected my waste matter. Another consideration was the fact that, at 17 years old, I had come to the realization that I was gay. Would the guys I wanted to be intimate with find the bag offensive? I didn’t even know if I would find it offensive. There was also the matter of anal sex, and this operation would end my ability to engage in it.

It was decision time. Being so young, I had probably never made a serious decision in my life. The surgery decision was all my own. If I decided to have the surgery, it would most certainly change my life forever. If I decided not to have the surgery, the rest of my life would remain as miserable as the last 13 years. At the time, very little was known about UC; there was no medication or treatment of any kind that was really effective. I was told that UC could eventually turn to cancer.

My initial conclusion was not to make any hasty decisions and to consider all aspects of the two possibilities. I had already missed a lot of high school because of illness and didn’t want to miss any more. As it was, I was already scheduled to graduate a year later than the other kids my age. I had never had surgery before and didn’t look forward to it. I considered the possibility that I could die on the operating table but, decided that if I did, I would be better off than living with UC. I felt there was no other choice. I decided I would have the operation, but it would have to wait until after I graduated from high school.

The surgery took place in July of 1957. I spent 10 days in the hospital and several weeks convalescing and healing at home. It was over! Eventually, I resumed my activities. When I entered college that fall, I started feeling like I was finally having a normal life. I feel that my life has been normal ever since. I’m able to go out, shop, travel, and basically do whatever I want without consideration of “the toilet factor.”

Sex, you ask? How did my ostomy affect my sex life? Having the ostomy, I feel that it is a part of who and what I am. Nevertheless, I didn’t want everyone to know about it. I became very discriminatory about sex. In more casual circumstances, I didn’t have to take off my clothes and reveal my innermost secrets. But with more personal encounters, which I preferred, it was making love in the privacy of my/their home with no clothes on—just the naked bodies of two men who wanted each other (if only for an hour or a night).

I soon discovered that wearing a pouch could be a drawback because it instantly makes you different from your chosen partner. There is no way to make it disappear. However, I found that concealing the pouch with a pouch cover is an acceptable solution. Wearing a pouch cover adds a layer of camouflage that tends to lessen the differences between your two bodies, and it certainly does make a difference. Although the pouch cover helped, I always felt it was best to ignore the pouch as much as possible and not make an issue about it—trying not to let it get in the way. I wear a narrow support belt and tuck the tail closure under the belt so it doesn’t flop around.

To me, the most important part of sex is the intimacy preceding the act—the erection and orgasm are just a few parts of sex. I’ve always felt that the prelude to sex or intimacy was the most important part—kissing, stroking, caressing, and exploring the erogenous zones with your hands, tongue, or genitalia. Although anal sex is no longer an option, there is also oral sex and mutual masturbation. These other forms of sex or intimacy have always been sufficient for me.

Being clean is an important factor for people with ostomies—regardless of sexual orientation. When looking for sex or anticipating sex, I always made sure of three things: 1) I bathed before going out, 2) I made sure my pouch was new and had an effective deodorant inside, and 3) I took some additional deodorant in the event that I had to empty the pouch before actually engaging in intimacy with someone.

When presented with the opportunity to get intimate with a guy, I always made a point of telling him I had an ileostomy and wore a surgical appliance. There was one occasion when I didn’t tell my friend in advance, and he was turned off to the extent that nothing could be consummated. He made it perfectly clear that he was only looking for anal sex and nothing more. Therefore, things came to an abrupt end (however, that was the only time it happened).

There were times that I wanted to see someone again and occasionally it didn’t happen. I am almost sure it was because of the ostomy. I had to consider—if I didn’t have the ostomy, a second encounter still might not have happened. That’s the way it is in the dating world. If you’re not perceived the first time as the knight on the white horse, you’re just another frog who didn’t turn into a prince. I developed a positive attitude about the whole situation. My ostomy is part of who and what I am, and if I met a guy who couldn’t see his way clear to being with me, there was someone else who would.

Sex is an important part of my life, but an even more important part is having a relationship. I had been in a relationship for 18 years, but there were many problems and it definitely wasn’t healthy. We seemed to have a symbiotic dependency on each other, however, and so it went on and on. I finally had the nerve to end it.

About a year later, I was fortunate to meet Sean. He had been married, but his wife had died of cancer two years before. Even though Sean had been happily married, he had always denied the alternative tendencies of his life that had been with him since childhood. Thankfully, he finally decided to act on them. Not only did Sean’s wife have cancer, but she also suffered from UC and Crohn’s disease and had had an ileostomy for many years. Sean was thoroughly familiar with my situation and totally comfortable with a partner who wore a “bag.”

Sean and I are both retired now. We enjoy traveling, good restaurants, entertaining at home, and classical music, to name just a few things. Since retiring, we have been on several trips together. Our travels have taken us to the East (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, the Canadian side of Niagra Falls, and Detroit), to the West (Arizona, Kansas, Denver, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and St. Louis), and to the South (Cozumel, Mexico and Montego Bay, and Jamaica). Prior to retirement, I traveled extensively to the Caribbean. We have been together for 11 years, and I am very lucky to have found him.

If you are a gay or lesbian ostomate and are looking for more support, below is some information about the Gay and Lesbian Ostomates Network (GLO Network). I’ve been a member of GLO for eight years.

The GLO Network

The GLO Network was formed almost 25 years ago. Its primary goals are to address the unique needs of gay and lesbian ostomates, assist them in living more positively with an ostomy, and assist healthcare professionals and UOAA volunteers in serving gay and lesbian ostomates. It also strives to provide information and resources for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered ostomates, their family members and their caregivers.

Needs and Concerns of Gay and Lesbian Ostomates

Gay and lesbian ostomates, like all people with ostomies, are confronted with a variety of concerns during their recovery. These concerns are universal throughout the ostomy community and can pertain to diet, odor, ability to work, enjoyment of recreational activities, relationships and sex, and the reactions of loved ones.

Many gays and lesbians are concerned with the actual, perceived, or anticipated prejudice they may experience. Therefore, many are reluctant to reveal their gender preference or sexual orientation to health professionals and ostomy visitors. This can limit the effectiveness of the caregiver, particularly where intimacy and sexuality issues are concerned.

Creating a Climate for Discussion

Perhaps the most important step that can be taken on behalf of a gay or lesbian ostomate is to establish a comfortable, non-threatening environment in which he or she feels free to talk openly about sexuality and intimacy issues.

GLO offers aid and support through telephone or personal contact (U.S. and Canada), as well as informational programs and social events for gay and lesbian ostomates at United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA) national conferences.

The GLO Network has no local chapters, but keeps in touch with its members through the publication of a newsletter issued three times a year. The articles are geared to gays and lesbians. The newsletter offers an extensive listing of gay and lesbian resources and connections. In addition, it offers a Contact List that enables an ostomate to contact other ostomates and seek answers to questions and concerns.

The GLO Network is affiliated with the UOAA but is an independent and separate entity. Their website is http://www.glo-uoaa.org/"

Hello and thank you for your posts. I have an ileostomy and I am nervous about posting how a recent roid led to a discovery of an anal fistula, or an extra hole in my anal wall. When putting medical cream on it, I too felt my extra hole and my gloved finger went in and rubbed my prostate and I got an erection, remembering some amazing prostate massages and actually considered a double sided massage, as I laid back and pleased myself. It's an amazing in thought, but I quickly remembered not to fool with the painful area, with or without a partner. In my post, I just mention getting aroused and remembering wonderful prostate massages. I have not posted yet, not wanting to insight any negative reactions.

I used to be and still am somewhat of a very sexual man. I typically identify as straight and have only had straight relationships. I do know I am bisexual and do enjoy the naked company of all sexualities. There is a masturbation group here in Denver that focuses on safe jerking no matter your sexual orientation. I so want to go and relieve my tension in a group of naked men pleasing themselves in various non-penetrating safe ways, I got the okay from the organizers and your posts inspires me. The casual touching in non-sexual areas, no mouth kissing and rubbing penises together is very arousing to my 58 year old body. A red wrist band means you are just observing, which has never been my mode of operation.

There was a gay spa called the Midtown in Denver that shuttered during the COVID crisis. Many people, as myself, miss the place we could play without shame. I always stayed safe exploring that side of my personality and had some wonderful experiences staying on top, some wonderful times with fingers massaging me. I loved walking around naked, not embarrassed but proud of my erection. I wonder if I would still go there with my ileostomy bag, definitely not during a flare, especially before the ileostomy when I wore diapers. LOL

I once loved being naked, going to nude beaches and resorts, such has the amazing Orvis hot springs in Ridgway, in south western Colorado.

Being free with mother nature flowing all around me was always a wonderful and rich activity for me. Now, being naked scares the hell out of me and the curve I recently developed is also concerning, but not painful, likely from a lot of jerking my way out of depression. I have a black belt to put on to keep things in place. If I don't eat for a couple of hours and not drink too much, I think I can pull it off without having to empty during the fun. If someone judges me, I guess it's their problem, more than mine. I don't think I can wait until I might get a reversal and only have a few scars.

I have to do and be myself, no matter what. I am as healthy as I have been in six years. Any sex is a lot more fun when you are not alone.

I just thought, I am bisexual so maybe I should post in this thread. I could wear a cut off tee shirt or write in washable ink, judge not what but who we are.

It's just I have had a lot of pleasing myself the last 6 years, once getting caught by a nurse in one of 387 days in the hospital. I told her I was just trying anything to feel better, she kind of giggled in shame and apologized for not knocking loud enough. I am sure the other nurses heard of my galloping hand.