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Incontinence and Sex

Couple on bed laughing

If you’re experiencing bladder leaks during sex, you’re not alone. It’s actually very common. Here are 5 ways to focus on working around bladder leaks during sex to feel great and improve your love life, even with an overactive bladder.

After many years (even decades) of being together, it can often be challenging for couples to keep the spice alive in the bedroom.

Life, especially as we get older, is full of change—some planned, some not—which can throw us for a loop. Many of us deal with aging parents, kids who are leaving home (or returning), shifts in job status, even an increase in illness among peers and loved ones. Who has time for sex?

And when you add to the mix a common physical condition, like urinary incontinence ("adult diaper" isn’t exactly what you were thinking for evening wear), it can make you want to put the proverbial blanket over your head and stay there.

But don’t! Because you’re not alone. In fact, 1 in 3 women have a sensitive bladder, which can be the result of pregnancy, weight gain or just the natural progression of aging.

If your overactive bladder is bothering you and causing self-doubt, here are a few tips that will help you get back to living life with poise, like bladder leaks are no big deal.

1. Find a Reason to Feel Pretty Every Single Day.

Never underestimate the “power of pretty!” Studies show that women who feel good about themselves enjoy life, relationships and sex more than those who don’t. Whether it’s taking time for an early morning walk while watching the sunrise, treating yourself to a new haircut or joining a yoga class—make sure you carve out "you time" each day to feel good about who you are now. Soon you’ll realize that your sensitive bladder is an insignificant part of who you are. A positive self-image depends on this truth!

2. Stop the Excuses.

The next step is to throw out all the excuses you’ve made for putting sex on the back burner. We all know that everyday life can get in the way but saying “no” because of your sensitive bladder can be quickly turn into a bad habit. It’s easy to talk yourself out of doing things you truly enjoy because of incontinence—whether it’s traveling, going out, dancing or exercising—but don’t let sex with your partner be one of them. Your whole relationship could suffer as a result.

3. Talk with Your Partner.

It’s essential to bring your partner into the conversation you’re having with yourself about incontinence. If you’re comfortable with who you are and what your body is experiencing, your partner will be, too. Get some tips for talking to your partner about your sensitive bladder.

4. It’s OK to Talk Yourself into Sex.

Even women who don’t experience incontinence sometimes need to nudge themselves into wanting to engage with their partners, especially if they’ve been together for a long time. But dealing with your overactive bladder makes this step an essential one. And that’s OK. Thinking about having sex can be half the fun, because good sex is planned sex, and it all begins with the willingness to engage.

5. It’s a Choice.

If you experience incontinence, you’re at a sexual crossroads: you could shut down that part of yourself, lock the door and throw away the key, or you can embrace this new life with a sense of freedom and fun. And then, you may very well find yourself having better sex than you’ve had in years!