I've had mild incontinence for years now, but until recently my bladder leakage was light enough that I could get away with wearing sanitary towels. It was a nuisance, not being able to feel completely in charge, and hoping things didn't progress while I was out any time. However it didn't impact my sex life or going out to any great degree - I just made sure to go to the loo at every opportunity, so that there was no chance of a flood.
Over the past year though, I've had a much greater urine loss, particularly at nights, or when I can't find a loo quickly enough, and have had to resort to wearing incontinence pants which make me feel both old and unattractive. It seems such an unfeminine thing to happen to one!! I'm lucky in that I've been with my lovely husband for over 20 years and it doesn't faze him, but I can imagine that for younger women the effect must be pretty devastating. I certainly find it depressing.