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This study was carried out to determine how the partners of patients with a permanent colostomy perceive everyday life, particularly its sexual aspects.Data were collected prospectively from October 2011 to May 2012 using a three-part questionnaire to obtain demographic, social and sexual information. Both multiple-choice and yes/no questions were used.One hundred and eight questionnaires were given to 36 partners of patients with a permanent colostomy (the ostomy group) and to 72 partners of normal individuals matched for age, sex and social class. The sexual performance of the spouse was significantly better in the control group (P = 0.004), sexual performance of the partner was also better in the control group (P = 0.023) and reduced frequency of sexual activity was higher in the ostomy group (P = 0.042). There was, however, no significant difference in sexual interest between the two groups (P = 0.507).The study demonstrated that about half of the partners of patients with a permanent colostomy experienced dissatisfaction with their spouse's performance, with a reduction in sexual interest and frequency of intercourse compared with the control group. Healthcare professionals should pay more attention to the partner of patients having a permanent colostomy.