How to navigate intimacy when you’re using an intermittent urinary catheter

So maybe it wasn’t the first question you asked—but we imagine sex might have been on your mind at some point as you started your catheter journey,

Balancing your catheterization needs with intimacy can seem daunting, but there’s no reason for you to be abstinent. You just need to figure out what works for you. 

It might not be a huge turn on, but the first thing you should do is to discuss your options with your doctor. Your medical team will let you know what works best for you, and may even give you approval to use a catheter valve or remove your catheter entirely for a short period of time. If not, If you still have plenty of options. 

Start a Dialogue

Before you hit the bedroom, talk to your partner about what they can expect and how they can help guide you through what sex is like now. The first step to great sex is confidence and by going into intimacy with the positive feeling of knowing you and your partner are one the same page is a great start. 

Knowing what to expect will make everyone more relaxed and likely to have a good time. By talking things out in advance, when you aren’t wrapped up in the moment, you can answer their questions thoughtfully and be prepared for any situations that might arise. Bonus: they’ll probably find this to be a great refresher on the basics of your catheter needs.


Start with an empty bladder. Not only does this buy you the full amount in your regular schedule for intimacy, but a full bladder can cause bacteria to settle in your bladder and grow. An empty bladder will also help prevent the chances of any leaks. 

Even in the most ideal situations, bacteria can spread through sex. So start by washing your genital area to minimize exposure. Besides, who doesn’t want to be clean and fresh for the act?


When it comes to the actual act, each situation is different. Ask your doctor about capping or clamping your catheter and do so only with their permission. If that’s the case be sure to reattach your bag or unclamp the catheter directly after sex to avoid any urine backflow. Consider if there are alternative supplies, bags, or pieces you’d prefer to wear during intercourse as opposed to during your regular day. Keep in mind that for hygienic reasons, you’ll probably want to remove whatever you use after sex.