Resuming an Active Sex Life After Stoma Surgery

Recovering from stoma surgery may temporarily put your sex life on hold, but there’s no reason you can’t resume intimacy with your partner when the time is right.


Get tips for resuming your sex life after stoma surgery.

After stoma surgery, you may wonder when you’ll be able to resume an active sex life. These concerns are natural. Your path to resuming sex will be unique, but there are some general timing recommendations and tips for talking with your partner that may help. 

When to resume sex after stoma surgery

Resuming an active sex life, including intercourse, is generally not recommended the first week after your operation. Gentle rehabilitation is usually required for even the most menial of tasks, such as making the bed. So, sexual activity is much too strenuous during that first week.

Most surgeons will recommend a period of taking it easy that lasts about six weeks. After that amount of time, you are likely to be more comfortable and be moving more easily. You can begin to resume your usual activities and hobbies, and generally “find yourself” again.

What’s important to remember is that there is no right time to resume your sex life. It comes down to your feelings about:

Talking with your partner

As you recover after stoma surgery, have honest and open talks with your partner about expectations for resuming your sex life. You might be worried and stressed about how your partner will react to your body. Talking will help reduce that worry.

Some people find it hard to talk about sex with their partner. If either of you finds it difficult or uncomfortable, one or both of you may have to venture out of your comfort zone. If it seems impossible to talk about sex together, your stoma care nurse may be able to refer you to a sex therapist. Psychosexual therapists are trained to help people with their sexual lives and relationships, including those caused by illness or injury. For some couples, all that may be needed is a single session with the therapist as a facilitator. Others may need a programme of therapy.