Sexuality involves our desire to express ourselves as human beings, to be loved and receive love.
Bladder or bowel continence issues can have an enormous impact on sexuality and the way we feel about ourselves. A feeling of embarrassment about leaking and wetting their clothes in public. As a result, people do not feel confident to go outside of the home and alter the clothes they wear to disguise any wetness or staining (for example by wearing dark or patterned clothing).
People report continually washing themselves during the day to stay fresh and avoid the risk of smelling. Others need their partners to undertake this aspect of personal care for them. Partners can experience emotional difficulties providing continence care, which can, in turn, affect their sexual relationship with the person they are caring for. Dealing with urine and bowel motions (poo) involves touching the genitalia and is difficult as people are often aware of their partner's discomfort in being helped. Providing intimate personal care can interfere with a couple's sexual relationship. This is an important concern and should be talked about to an appropriate health professional.
For some people, aids and techniques used to manage incontinence can also have an impact on sexuality by preventing relationships, causing embarrassment or evoking memories of their partner.