Stigma As A Gay Man With A Stoma

Nathan Stigma


The world is full of people that judge, it’s just a way of life. Humans will always judge other humans and it’s something you have to accept, but it doesn’t mean you have to be surrounded by judgement.

Stigma in the gay community is very high because many people (not everyone, but a lot of people) think that gay men have to be body beautiful. They should have clear skin, abs, hairless bodies and be over six feet tall. If this is what you base a person on, chances are – you are probably going to be single for a long time!

Gay stigma with an ileostomy is even harder because there are certain things a gay man can no longer do if they have an ileostomy and a barbie butt (total removal of the rectum), like myself.

Inside the gay community in terms of sex, there are a few positions that a man can take. A top, is usually the guy doing the penetrating. A bottom is a male that receives the penetration and a versatile is someone who doesn’t mind which role they take; they can be either.

Obviously, with an ileostomy and having the rectum removed, this is one of the things that can open you up to stigma. People that have had their rectum removed cannot be a bottom or versatile anymore because there is nowhere to be penetrated. That function is removed from sex. You can, however, be a top. This is just something you have to work around with an ileostomy, but it must be remembered that sex isn’t the only thing you can do. If anything, it makes you more adventurous because you find other ways to be intimate with your partner.

Gay men especially, are very focused on looks, and that is very apparent online and on social media.

The guys with the abs will get the most likes in photos and this can be really off putting to anyone that doesn’t have that body, but especially people with a condition like ours. What you must remember, is that not everyone finds abs and smooth bodies attractive!

There are so many different people in the world - some might be attracted to hairy bodies, others might prefer chubbier guys, some may like skinny guys. Most of the time, people won’t even care you have a stoma, they are just happy you are well and alive! It really is different for everyone and the stigma is not as harsh when you look in the right places.

Everyone will have felt stigmatised at some point, whether it’s over their looks or personality or maybe something they’re passionate about - and this needs to change. 

Finding people out there that like the same things as you, and teaching people about our condition and being open and honest, removes that stigma attached to it. It’s okay to talk about it. It’s okay to show an interest in these things.

Having a stoma isn’t spoken about enough, especially in the world of gay.

There was absolutely no information on having a stoma and being gay when I had my surgery back in 2007. I really thought it was the end of the line for me, but anyone that is reading this, I want you to know that it most certainly isn’t the end.

The world is getting braver about speaking up about these things, and it’s fantastic to find information online now. The only thing I was told by the nurse was not to have sex using my stoma – which honestly makes me cringe so much! Definitely don’t do that! 

You can have an ileostomy and be in a gay relationship, you can still be beautiful and sexy with a stoma and you can still be intimate whilst wearing a pouch.

Just knowing these things, helps to remove the stigma that may be worrying you. Having a stoma is a very small part of being YOU. It may be your main focus, but to the important people, it will only be a tiny part of what makes you incredible - never forget that!

Stay proud!

Nathan x

“Having a stoma isn’t spoken about enough, especially in the world of gay.” - @thatsnathan

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by Nathan Wheeler

Nathan Wheeler

About the author

Hello - I'm Nathan Wheeler! I'm a YouTuber and I've had an ileostomy since 2007 when I was just 17, so I have a pretty good idea about how to deal with the struggles of a stoma! I want to share my experiences with you and bring a light-hearted approach to all the questions that no one wants to ask! You can follow me an Instagram and YouTube.