OAB: How it Affects Sex and Intimacy
OAB and Intimacy
Unfortunately, many women with OAB will just avoid sex altogether.
“They think it’s bad for their bladder and that it will make it worse, so they stay away from that whole area,” Kavaler says.
This is a myth. “Unless you have a prolapsed bladder, sex is not dangerous and will not cause your bladder to become damaged,” she says.
Sex is one thing, but intimacy is another, she says. “Intimacy should not change with age or OAB. If you feel like you smell from urine, you may feel unsexy,” and avoid sex and intimacy.
Pepper Schwartz, PhD, a sociologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, agrees. “There are a lot of things that go on which long-term partners don’t discuss or don’t discuss the severity of,” she says. OAB may fall into this category.
“Women may feel embarrassed by leakage during sex or orgasm, and even if their partner knows and says ‘it’s OK’, it certainly can stop you from allowing oral sex,” says Schwartz, the author of several books including Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love, and the Sensual Years.
Hiding something is not good for intimacy, she says. “It has an impact on your own psyche, and you don’t realize that until you do talk about it,” she says.
Put OAB Out There
Once you are open with your partner, you can face the situation together. “If there is urine incontinence during sex or orgasm, you may need a towel,” she says.
She doesn’t advise bringing up OAB and sex fears right before you hit the sheets.
Berman agrees: “It is best to go about it around a conversation about positive things -- not in the bedroom,” she says.
If it’s a new partner, consider this conversation a litmus test. “If the guy is horrified and runs, there are other issues, and it’s important to know that in advance.”