Using a catheter doesn’t mean you can’t engage in sexual activity, it’s all about knowing what to do with it. Diane Rowles, a nurse practitioner from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago outlines advice for people using catheters in different ways:
Sexy for people using intermittent catheterization:
“I usually recommend to catheterize prior to having sex,” she shares. “In order to prevent incontinence, I recommend that people empty their bladder prior to intercourse.” Since all the nerves and reflexes for bowel, bladder and sexual organs are in the same area, this is a great way to avoid accidents. For females, that’s all.
“For men, sometimes catheterization stimulates an erection. When you stimulate a reflex erection, you probably are going to want to use that erection for intercourse.”
If you take the catheter out and let that erection go away, it will be difficult for most people to stimulate a second reflex erection, especially in a short period of time. “I always tell people foreplay, do a little bit of catheterization, a little more foreplay, and use the erection that comes from the catheterization, if there is one,” she suggests.
Sex for People with Indwelling Catheters:
“They have two options,” she shares. “They can take it out and have intercourse…or the catheter can be left in.” If you plan on taking it out, there are some things to consider. For example, you can’t put the same one back in, which is something to consider in terms of buying catheters. If you can’t put it in yourself, then you also have to have someone around who can put it back in. “It can’t stay out too many hours because of 1) incontinence and 2) autonomic dysreflexia if their bladder overflows or prevention of a urinary tract infection,” she explains. If you can’t afford to buy the catheters or prefer to keep it in, don’t worry. For women, just tape the catheter out of the way before intercourse.
“For men, what is recommended is leaving a large loop of catheter at the end of the penis, so that if the person does get an erection, there’s enough catheter for the penis to climb, and then placing a condom over it."
The condom isn’t necessarily for contraception, it’s for avoiding urinary tract infections for the male. “The nice thing is that if a person does not get a great reflex erection, so the penis doesn’t get real hard, the rigidity of having the catheter run down along the side of the penis actually can help stimulate their partner,” she shares.
What about the urine bag?
“People say…having that urine bag is a real turn off,” she explains. “Clamp the catheter, get rid of the urine bag, put the urine bag in a pillow case, cover it with a towel, put a long piece of extension tubing on, throw the bag off of the bed, any way to enhance the romance.”
Learned something new? Share this post so others with catheters can learn more about their options for healthy sexual activity.