10 Realities Of Having Sex When You Have IBS
The Debrief: Anal isn't really an option.
IBS is an affliction of the stomach that affects up to 1 in 5 people in the UK and more women because, some have suggested, we grow up learning that women should pretend they don’t shit. Obviously everyone wants to pretend they don't shit during sex, it's just even more difficult to do this when you've got a colon that has no idea what the hell it's doing. Sometimes it'll make you run for the loo, sometimes it'll make you not be able to go for four days while pretending it really does. Sometimes you'll look six months pregnant and be, therefore, unable to get on top. Here are the trials and tribulations of having sex when you've got Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
READ MORE: How To Have Sex
1. You have to time sex to when you eat
Usually dinner, followed by a quick commute and loads of sex, is a positive thing. Usually. When you’re an IBS sufferer, you’ll need a fair amount of hours between eating and shagging, because nobody feels sexy when they look four months pregnant and feel like a sad trampoline. Also, nobody wants to fuck a sad trampoline. So having a late dinner almost always has to coincide with a coffee somewhere else (coffee = helping along the natural processes) so you can get that shit out - again, literally - before you get down to it. And good luck trying to feel sexy after doing all of that bowel admin.
2. You will get it wrong a lot
Despite feeling fairly foolproof, there are a lot of times when I get it wrong because life gets in the way and we can’t all schedule people to fit with our toilet habits. A lot of the time you have to be Sherlock Holmes, and predict sex so you can go to the loo before the foreplay happens. Then you might not be able to go to the loo, if you know what I mean, so you’ll give it a go anyway and have to abruptly stop sex because of a tummy ache. Or you can’t stop thinking about the fact you need the loo and can’t go. It’s difficult for your sex person, waiting eagerly under the sheets, to understand that this is a viable reason to not have sex, and you’re not just making excuses.
3. Anal is out of the question
4. Certain positions are out of the question
You can’t go on top if your stomach has expanded a good six inches, because your body doesn’t look like your own and it’s difficult not to stare at yourself. Nobody ever came from being surprised at the size of their own stomach. Also, any positions that involve leaning on your stomach is out too, because it hurts a lot and you can’t focus. Sideways spooning sex is a good bet, provided the person doesn’t mind you smacking their hand away from your stomach. From behind is surprisingly fine (and a good compromise for someone who will never be able to do you up the chuffer. And by chuffed, I mean arse).
5. You’ll have to tell the person you’re dating after a while
Two valentine’s days ago, me and my then-boyfriend went to a gastro pub for an amazing meal. An amazing, rich, meal. I had to stop the bus about ten minutes from our destination to run to the loo in a nearby Wetherspoons because I was going to shit myself. He texted me: ‘Oh my god are you OK?’ I texted back: ‘Call a priest’. Then I told him I had IBS and we had a readymade anecdote for most social occasions. Heard about the one where Anna nearly shat herself on a bus on Valentine’s Day? Cool.
6. Toilet breaks become an art form
The whole ‘Oh god I went to the loo properly at my boyfriend’s flat’ is pretty much moot when you have IBS. You’ve probably gone to the loo properly in your boyfriend’s flat before you were even going out. You probably knocked on his door two years ago because you thought you were going to shit yourself while walking down the street after enjoying a fine cider. Suffice to say, there are tips and tricks you learn when you have to go to the loo three times after a normal evening meal, and the loo is next to the bedroom. Firstly: run the tap all the time. Because you never know if it’ll just be a wee, and you never know what’s going to aurally occur. Secondly: put loo roll down there beforehand in case there isn’t a loo brush or the loo brush is rubbish. Thirdly: always try and go after someone else because then if you annihilate the bathroom, you can blame them (sorry boyfriend’s flatmate). It goes without saying that you need to open the window and utilise all forms of scented liquid (I’ve used nail varnish remover before).
7. Pizza in bed isn’t a thing
It’s more like pizza while one of you is in bed and the other is on the toilet.
8. Wind is a thing
Gas is a constant fear. Especially if you’re having trouble shitting, because your body likes to hold it all in until you fall asleep and inadvertently become a human wind sock. Like Nightmare On Elm Street but for farts. I go to the loo every time I have a gas attack, but if you’re asleep and there’s someone else in the bed, the worry that you’re going to do something unspeakably disgusting the moment you close your eyes is a real burden.
9. Choosing what to eat is terrifying
Some IBS is down to specific foods, and if you have this form of IBS then I am so jealous of you I want to go to the loo. My IBS is erratic and sort of predicated on how rich or fatty the food is, but mainly it’s down to stress. If I’m excited or upset or anxious about something, I will immediately go to the loo. How do you choose what to eat when you know you’re probably going to have sex after it, when there are no rules? Do you just eat apples? Apples are good. Yeah, cool, I’ll make you a bolognaise darling - but I’ll just have a bowl of stewed apples in case I shit myself during sex later.
10. Morning hangovers are difficult
‘Are you ok? Are you being sick?’ ‘YES THAT’S IT. SICK. I’M BEING SICK. YOU CAN’T HELP ME THOUGH SO DO GO AWAY AND LET ME SH- SORRY, BE SICK IN PEACE FOR ANOTHER TWO HOURS MEANING I AM LATE FOR WORK BECAUSE OF MY OWN BOWELS’. It’s not at all humiliating.
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