So as of a few days ago, I got diagnosed by a specialist bowel surgeon, after a series of tests, with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known as IBS.
Experiencing it for a number of years (starting after my maternal grandmother passed away from lung cancer) it’s been speculated by myself, my nearest and dearest and even my therapist at the time two years ago that I may have it, but I always put off going to see someone with the ‘it will go away on its own’ notion. Nope!
Anyway, when it comes to sex, IBS can be a deciding factor in what you can and perhaps-be-advised-against, doing.
Baring in mind here, everyone’s IBS and sex life works differently. I’m talking about my own here and also going from general knowledge from research.
As well as certain food intolerances that trigger symptoms for me, mine is primarily stress induced. And with my dissertation deadline little over a month away, the flare ups have been near constant of late. They can be very painful, leaving you absolutely exhausted if it’s particularly bad.
So when it comes to navigating sex around IBS, there are certain things I have had to accept and not beat myself up about.
For example, it’s unpredictability. Even without triggers and measures to keep your bowels as calm as possible, sometimes it can just play up just because.
In everyday life, sadly it’s not a condition many take seriously, despite it being a chronic condition that needs lifelong management and can really affect work life and overall quality of life. Reactions can vary from be accused of exaggeration for effect (we’re really not) to the classic ‘it’s just all in your head’ approach.
With it being a bowel condition affecting everyday life to whatever varying degree, naturally that can (but not always) affect sex too.
Suffice to say, it can leave you wanting the ground to swallow you whole when you’ve got a wild night of passion planned ahead of you, and then having to go: ‘Sorry, not tonight. My guts are wreaking havoc again.’
Lately with uni work and my iron tablets still kicking in (I was also diagnosed with an iron deficiency) I’ve been very tired and not had the energy for much else that isn’t work related. So as you can imagine, I’ve not had much, if any, energy for sex lately, despite by really wanting to.
Especially when feeling like one’s intestines are being rung out like a dish cloth and hung out to dry, definitely not.
Generally speaking, sex is as normal as anyone’s else’s experiences. I just have to be more mindful about what acts I can do. For example, anal sex is one of those things.
I have only had full anal sex a handful of times. While I have enjoyed these experiences, without going into too much detail, it can be difficult and perhaps ill-advised for me to do any kind of anal play regularly. Or even semi-regularly for that matter.
If I do, I’d have to stick with very small butt plugs and only during times when I’ve not had a flare up for a while. Even then, take it very slow and play it by ear.
I have to admit sometimes that it does make me feel like crap. Feeling like I can’t do something I have either particular interest in and also some internalised societal pressure I put on myself to ‘let the guy do anal on you.’
My boyfriend has really enjoyed the times we have, as have I. Because I know he enjoys it so much, sometimes I feel bad because I can’t do it as much as someone else might. But being the lovely man he is, has reassured me that my health is more important to him and if I can’t, I can’t and that’s perfectly ok.
He is absolutely right. Health is more important than any sex act. It’s like me avoiding a certain kind of bondage tie because of an injury he sustained in his arm. Safety first.
Vaginal sex wise, it’s pretty straightforward. But on those days where despite a bad bloat that makes me look around 5 months pregnant (no word of exaggeration there) and just need it, slow doggy style is always my best bet.
So while it can be a literal pain, it’s just one of things you’ve got to take in your stride and face head on, taking as good a care of yourself as you can.
All my love,
*Picture – Pinterest