A shirtless man partially under the covers props himself up on his elbow in bed, facing a woman wrapped in a sheet who is smiling but also looking panicked and holding up a finger to say "just a minute" as she backs into the bathroom.

How to Feel "Sexy" While Dating With IBS: It's Really Hard

Setting the scene...

I'm sure this will sound familiar. You get yourself all ready for a date and then your bowels start yelling at you not to leave your house. But you've been really excited for this date and you've already put in the effort to get ready, so you text the person and tell them you're running behind.

You trudge to the bathroom, do your business, and feel a bit more ready to conquer the world. So, you head to the date, sit down, and mid-way through, those lovely bowels of yours start yelling again. So you apologize to your date, get up, trudge the bathroom, and sit in mortifying embarrassment because you know you're going to take a long time.

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You mumble an apology once you sit back down at the table, some 10-15 minutes later, and sit awkwardly for the rest of the date, fearing your bowels will turn again, providing further embarrassment. Then, for some reason, your date enjoyed your company besides the trip to the bathroom and wants to see you again. This time, they are eager to get you into bed. People with IBS know that they have to tread carefully when engaging in these sorts of activities. Being naked can already leave you in a vulnerable position even without the added stress of IBS.

Telling your partner

It's not as if having IBS is some awful, shameful secret. It isn't! But you want your partner to be comfortable and expect the delays in everyday life regarding your own life around the toilet. So, once you get comfortable enough with someone physically and emotionally, and who you'll evidently be spending a lot of time with, you'll have to tell them. Especially at the beginning of a relationship, you obviously want to do the most to feel sexy and attractive, and hunkering down a toilet for ages, or feeling bloated and achy, isn't exactly ideal.

However, your partner kinda needs to know if you are going to spend 20 minutes in the washroom and it's not even on your hair or if you were feeling up to plans until the last minute when your bowels give out. It shouldn't be shameful!! That's the important part! This goes without saying that if your partner finds your frequent bathroom habits gross, then you ditch them. Sh*t happens, it just happens to people with IBS more.

My own experience

My current boyfriend is a wonderful man. Full stop, he is. A couple of months into us dating, we went for Indian food. Now, I love Indian food, and *most* of the time, it actually doesn't bother me. For some reason, though, this time it did. Suffice to say I did not make it to our friends' apartment building in time.

I was mortified and bawling my eyes out in our friends' apartment's bathroom because not only were we newly dating but I had only met the group of people we were with a couple of times before this because they were his friends first. I, in this moment, felt the least sexy I've ever felt in my entire life.

After shouting for my boyfriend (because obviously I had left my phone outside the bathroom because who needs to contact their partner in an emergency *rolls eyes*), he came in and helped to sort out the situation and get the laundry (yes laundry) down to the laundry machines in the building. He was so calm and so understanding (the bar is low folks) but it really made feel "sexy" again to know he didn't care, and was outwardly helpful, that I had put myself in a mortifying situation.

As with anything, it's important to have a supportive and caring partner, but with IBS, when you can feel bloated and achy at all times, it's truly wonderful to have a partner that can make you feel sexy at the worst of times.

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