Spinal Cord Injury BC

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Navigating Sex, Intimacy and Dating with Intermittent Catheterization

Navigating a romantic relationship and maintaining an active sex life may feel daunting whether you're new to using intermittent catheters or have been using them for some time. You may worry that intermittent catheterization may interfere with your intimacy or dating life but our sponsors at Coloplast are here to help!

Posted on April 26, 2024
by Sophie Ni

Although this concern is natural, it is important to remember that using intermittent catheters does not prevent you from experiencing fulfilling intimacy and a dynamic dating life.1

This blog post aims to provide you with some tips to help you enjoy a close connection, a healthy sex life and dating while being an intermittent catheter user.

Here are some tips that can help you enjoy a rich intimate life with intermittent catheterization:

1. Understand your needs

Explore your care needs and what you need from your partner when it comes to intimacy.2 Discuss these needs with your partner and help them understand what they need to do to support you.

2. Talk to your partner

Have an open, honest conversation with your partner about your intermittent catheterization and how it integrates with your intimate life.2 This conversation allows both of you to share concerns, needs, and ways to support each other in nurturing a closer bond.

3. Plan ahead

When it comes to sex and being intimate with your partner, avoiding urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be a priority for an intermittent catheter user. Here’s what you can do:

  • Before sex: Ensure your bladder is empty to reduce the risk of infections.3 Also, clean your genital area from front to back and wash your hands before and after catheter use.4
  • During sex: Keep water-soluble lubricant at hand to minimize friction and the risk of UTIs.3 Also, consult with your healthcare provider on safe birth control options that won’t heighten UTI risks, as some options, such as diaphragms and spermicides, can irritate the genital area and increase the risk of UTI.3
  • After sex: Catheterize after sex to flush out any residual urine and bacteria.3 Drink 2-3 glasses of water and empty your bladder when you feel the need. Also, clean your genital area after sex.4

4. Be creative and experiment

Penetration is only one way to have sex. Explore other forms of sexual activity with your partner to discover what brings you both joy.5 Also, experiment with sex positions, aids like special pillows, sex toys, or different types of lingerie to widen your sexual experience.6

Moreover, intimacy extends far beyond the physical act of sex.7 Engage with your partner in deep conversations, shared hobbies, gentle touches, or even silent companionship to strengthen your bond.7 Discover activities both of you find fulfilling, such as cooking together, learning a new skill, or any other activity as a pair. Embrace emotional and intellectual connections by sharing your feelings, thoughts, and dreams, which can be just as intimate as physical expressions.

Remember, intimacy is about closeness, trust, and understanding each other on multiple levels. Through creativity and experimentation, you can find numerous ways to nurture your connection.

5. Seek support

You are not alone. Many communities and resources, such as Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, are available for those using intermittent catheters. Connect with these communities and talk to people with similar experiences to gain insights, support, and encouragement.2

Coloplast Care is a free product and lifestyle support program for catheter users. We offer support through free online resources on our website, phone support, and product guidance. Learn more and sign up here or call a dedicated Care Advisor at +1-866-293-6349.

If you experience recurring UTI or other challenges around sex, talk to your healthcare provider. They should be able to provide you with additional strategies and solutions to maintain a healthy intimate life.

6. Use the right catheter for you

Choosing a catheter that fits your lifestyle may help with your overall confidence and comfort. SpeediCath® compact catheters are designed to be discreet, so your self-catheterization routine doesn’t have to get in the way of your intimate life. They are also pre-lubricated and ready to use right out of the packaging! SpeediCath® compact catheters are available for both male and female.

Beyond the bedroom, dating with intermittent catheterization:2

Your intermittent catheter is a part of you, just like any other trait. Embrace it. Prioritize self-care to boost your self-esteem and, when ready, communicate openly with your potential partners. Your catheter doesn’t define your ability to have an active and exciting dating life.

Final thoughts on intimacy, dating, and catheterization:

With open communication, a little planning, creativity, and self-care, you’re well on your way to a rewarding intimate and dating life.

Whether you’re well-versed in using intermittent catheterization or just starting out, remember that you can create a fulfilling romantic and intimate life with partners who trust and respect your needs.

Other Info

References

  • The National Health Service, 2017 [cited 2024 Mar 21]. Living with a urinary catheter. Available from: nhs.uk
  • Coloplast Canada, Sex and Intimacy for Catheter Users. [cited 2024 Mar 21]. Available from: coloplast.ca
  • Coloplast US, Helpful tips on intimacy. [cited 2024 Mar 21]. Available from: coloplast.u
  • Uro Today, Prevention Strategies – Intermittent Catheters. [cited 2024 Mar 28]. Available from: urotoday.com
  • Natural Cycles, 2021 [cited 2024 Mar 21]. Different types of sex & sexual acts: Oral, anal defined. Available from: naturalcycles.com
  • Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, 2021 [cited 2024 Mar 21]. Top 10 Adaptive Sex Techniques. Available from: sciontario.org
  • Kardan-Souraki M, Hamzehgardeshi Z, Asadpour I, Mohammadpour R, Khani S. A Review of Marital Intimacy-Enhancing Interventions among Married Individuals. Glob J Health Sci. 2015 Dec 18 [cited 2024 Apr 3];8(8):p74.

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