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Sex & Intimacy Following Barbie Butt Surgery 

Let’s talk about the massive pink elephant in the room. During your surgical discussions and questions asked about what to expect following surgery and recovery, one of the things the majority of us don’t ask is what happens with sexual activity and if this surgery will change that for us. 

We are reluctant to ask questions about something that is pretty natural to do. This could be from embarrassment? or our typical Britishness, if that is a thing? Sex is considered taboo; it’s rarely discussed in open conversation unless it’s a small group of close friends (women) that like to openly discuss these things. Or the part drunkenness of male banter when they get together.

I know myself if I have a question about something sex-related then I ask my best friend or secretly check Google and delete my history straight after. I’m not sheltered but there are things that people mention or say openly and I have to ask what it is as it’s not something I have heard or seen before, I usually get the ‘she’s innocent’ look or the patronising pat on the head. It’s only been the last few years since I have got more comfortable with talking about sex without blushing up to my dyed roots. 

I kind of knew what to expect following my last two surgeries as I hadn’t had sex for roughly 8 months following my stoma surgery in 2009, my body needed to recover and quite frankly it was the last thing on my mind. 

After my stoma surgery in 2016, I was back to resuming sexual activity 3 weeks post-operative and things were fine. I had a few issues following my surgery in a 2 year period, I have extensive scar tissue in my uterus and surrounding areas. This has caused things to be a bit tight on the inside, much to my partner’s detriment, let’s just say something got ripped. We both learned after this and started using lubricants to help and to avoid permanent damage and mental scars for the both of us…

Sex after Barbie Butt surgery

Barbie butt surgery can carry certain risks. For the men, there is a risk of erectile dysfunction due to the nerves and anatomy all being close together in the pelvis, the men after a certain amount of recovery are normally asked to check this to make sure all is okay prior to hospital departure. For the women having the large bowel removed and with it being so close to our lady garden that also carries certain changes to anatomy postoperatively. Our uterus can dip back into the space left behind from the bowel being removed and means that our cervix may also tilt back. 

There are also risks for women with things being tighter, more sensitive and running the risk of splitting the healed Barbie butt wound with sex because the vagina is so close to the anus. 

For those who are in same-sex relationships then this can change the way you engage with sexual activity with the anus being removed. My best advice would be to consult with your surgeon and discuss alternatives prior to your surgery with your partner. 

Oral sex for the women may also have to be put on hold for a certain amount of time, I will explain why further on in this post.

Add to that the post-operative swelling for the females. This can make sexual activity uncomfortable and unpleasant for 6/8 months as the swelling does take to pass and for things to go back to normal. 

Me, being rather psychotic, thought sex 3 weeks post-op was a fantastic idea ( hardcore pain meds have a lot to answer for!). Honestly, I shouldn’t have tried it, but I did and got a stern telling off from my recovery nurse as that was apparently the equivalent of brutality on my rather sensitive insides that close to surgery. 

At the time I asked my nurse when would the right time to resume sexual activities be, and she said she had never been asked and that she doesn’t know. 

This for me was rather confusing, when is the right time? How do you know? What if my body is sending mixed signals?

Reengaging after surgery

Everyone’s recovery period is different, there are no right or wrong ways of getting back to normal with your sexual habits. 

It is perfectly normal to be nervous. For me it was pretty much the equivalent of it being my first time again, only I was missing the alcohol and wasn’t under the influence. Alcohol dulls the senses, one or two might help with the relaxing of the body, it also lowers people’s inhibitions, but I have never been an advocate of being drunk and partaking due to my parts being a bit more sensitive thanks to the surgery. 

Foremost you need to make sure that you are ready, there is no harm in saying no if things feel uncomfortable. Mood settings may make you more anxious as there is sometimes an expectation from having a romantic evening and what that ultimately leads too. 

Warming up and getting used to things will help, being intimate does not just mean having sex, cuddles, kissing, massage and foreplay will all lead to you being in the right mood and frame of mind to be ready for penetrative sex.

It may take you a few attempts before getting to that point, if at any point it hurts or you are feeling uncomfortable, then stop and go back to what you were doing previously. 

Things to know for the ladies

Barbie butt surgery for most of us will cause a few changes to the anatomy on the inside and as to how we find sex after recovery. 

Due to the pelvic area and the uterus being involved during the surgery, it is normal for that all to be swollen after surgery. This is why we get discomfort after, it can typically take up to 6 months for this to pass but it will pass. 

Receiving oral sex may have to be put on hold, the reason for this is due to the way our anatomy has changed and the postoperative drainage. For some of us, there will be leftover surgical fluid that takes time to drain from our bodies. For women that means that it comes out via the vagina and can cause your lady parts to discharge; this surgical discharge also carries a smell that is both unpleasant to yourself and your partner whilst carrying out oral sex. Products such as Vagisil and Femme Fresh will help to restore the harmony on your insides but this does take time and that smell can have a recurrence, typically just after period week as it takes a while to drain due to the tilting back of our cervix. 

Vaginal dryness is a thing!! Prior to my surgeries, this wasn’t an issue, post-Barbie butt surgery alas it is. I can be full steam ahead, just about to get into the nitty-gritty of intercourse and bam, it’s drier than the Sahara, I am now a regular purchaser of lubricants to help with this. It really isn’t worth continuing without as 1) it’s painful 2) I don’t like to feel my insides chafing for days after.

I have my own personal preference, sex is messy enough without the added mess of cheap lube. I typically use a water-based one that is unscented. There are many varieties and it’s about finding what works for you. Word of caution: please check the backs of them and check they are compatible with condoms if you are practising safe sex as some lubricants can cause them to breakdown or rip. 

Certain positions will take a while to get used too.  Missionary will be uncomfortable whilst recovering; you can’t control the depth of penetration so this will ultimately rub and cause pain on the barbie butt wound. It took me nearly a year to get comfortable again with this. 

Positions that are more comfortable to ease back into with are spooning your back to his front, you on top. I would advise avoiding from behind until you have fully recovered as again you can’t control the way that one goes. 

Sex life post-op for me 

Post-op now I have more than recovered and is back to normal. I have a pretty healthy sex life even though we have been together for 4 years it is something that we both enjoy and I feel it brings a closeness and intimacy to our relationship. 

All in all, there are still some issues that I am waiting to see gynea for but that is more Crohns related and a mixture of my final surgery. I have fissures that spread from back passage to front passage along with recurrent genital itching that drives me absolutely nuts. I have been checked for everything known to man to confirm it wasn’t STD based alas it is the gift that keeps on giving and that is my Crohn’s disease and its currently flaring. 

Should any of you have any female related questions you wish to ask then don’t hesitate to message me, nothing really daunts or scares me these days and I am pretty open and honest about life. 

As always 

Many thanks for reading 

Stay Safe

Louise Xx

What is Pan-proctocolectomy surgery and why might you need it? Read Louise’s previous blog post here

Read Respond’s Sex & Intimacy booklet

Disclaimer:

This blog post is intended to give advice to ostomates. The information given is based on Louise’s personal experience and should not be taken as clinical advice. Each ostomates needs are unique to them and their stoma care routine. Please consult with your Stoma Care Nurse before undertaking any changes to your stoma care routine or if you are experiencing any health issues.

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