Relationships! They take a lot of care and attention, more so when one half of the relationship has an life changing illness. It gives us a great amount of pleasure to introduce to you new team member Rachael Burkinshaw and her boyfriend James, who have made this candid but very helpful video to help answer peoples fears on intimate relationships and IBD.
Rachael is an Art Director from London, she has a degree in Creative Advertising and will be helping us on the creative side of the project, along with contributing helpful articles like this one. Her boyfriend James a copywriter also based in London will be teaming up with Rachael and getting stuck in to the project with us. This dynamic and creative duo often work on projects, combining their joint skills to make fantastic fun campaigns. We really look forward to working with them, and hope you can take time to check their video above which touches on the important subject of relationships and IBD. We have included an article Rachael wrote for her personal blog on sex and IBD to round off those awkward concerns people sometimes shy away from.
Dating, relationships and eventually sex are possibly some of the most carefully navigated and nerve wracking topics. No one wants to face the idea of rejection right? Add in an Ostomy bag and you're literally lost. I don't think Buzzfeed is going to be making a list of 20 ways to tell your date you have an Ostomybag any time soon. So my boyfriend and I decided to make a video answering some questions about what it's like to be in a relationship with someone with an Ostomy bag.
SEX!! (Yeah, don’t read this one mum...)
Probably one of the first things that comes to mind when you’re given the words ‘You need an ostomy bag’
Gone are the days of worrying about how you’ve gained a few pounds or whether your makeup looks good in this lighting. You’ve got a bag of poop on your stomach now girl.
Before I actually had a bag I had awful ideas of what sex would be like or whether it would even be possible. So I’d like to get some things clear for anyone who might have to undergo this surgery.
The bag doesn’t smell at all, in fact theres probably more risk of smell when your bowels were in tact. So theres a plus…Boys like boobs and bums, they won’t be concentrating on your bag unless you are.
Your bag won’t be ‘full’ when you have sex, you empty it before hand. Just like you’d nip to the toilet before hand if you needed a tactical wee. Leaks are very rare, in fact, in my eight months of having a bag I’ve never had a leak during sex and if you do, you’d spot it before anything got gross. You don’t have to be apologetic for your bag, if you’re having sex with someone who makes you feel like you do, why are you having sex with them?
You are still a sexual being, you are still a woman with sexual desires and a body to flaunt. Your bag is like, less than 5% of your body, its really not a big deal.
The media is a pretty cheeky one when it comes to reporting on Ostomy bags and relationships, when I’ve seen girls write about how normal their sex life is with a bag the tabloids will often pick this story up with the headline "GIRL HAS AN OSTOMY BAG AND STILL HAS SEX!!!" It’s not really that much of a big deal Mr Tabloid man, but I guess you have to make a living off sensationalisation.
The biggest thing that I’ve had to get over is the fact that my boyfriend finds me sexy! He had to reassure me quite a few times at the beginning of our relationship that my bag is really not in the spotlight. As much as its a big deal to us (it saved our lives goddamit!) its not much of a big deal when it comes to sex. Like its really not a big deal that you have stretch marks, or scars or that tattoo that your not sure about anymore.
As really annoyingly cliche as this sounds, no amount of high waisted underwear, bands around your stomach or turning off the lights and hiding under the quilt is going to make you feel sexier than just realising you are sexy.
Its up to you to decide how god damn sexy you are, bag or not!