Diabetes Week: Let’s talk about sex

Sex is an important part of life for many of us and probably an area which many of us could benefit from better communication with our partners.

Diabetes can influence sex so talking about it can be good for your partnership and the sex you have.

When one reads about diabetes and sex, it is often about the negative aspects. This can sometimes look a bit depressing for the reader and create an appearance that sex with diabetes is generally a problematic experience.

Here’s a line you’ll rarely see in a diabetes article but is totally true:

Many people with diabetes have great sex.

The thing with health articles is that they’re dedicated towards helping people, so most articles related to sex and diabetes tend to focus on the difficulties by way of offering advice.

For those of you really loving and enjoying your intimacy, there doesn’t seem so much a writer can say. Keep doing what you’re doing; keep enjoying the connection you have.

Reassurance

There are a number of good reasons to talk about diabetes and sex. Providing reassurance is one of those. With sex we are opening ourselves up about as much as a human can and letting our partner inhabit a very tender part of our personal space.

A little reassurance can go a long way towards helping us feel comfortable to open up sexually and emotionally.

Sometimes sex is not as easy or appealing as we’d like. Depression can sometimes make it hard to feel sexy or sexually driven. And complications such as urinary tract infections, an episode of low blood sugar, vaginal dryness or erectile problems can all prevent sex from occurring.

It can be tempting to not mention any problems and hope they go away, but this can leave doubts in your partner’s mind. “Does this mean he/she no longer finds me attractive?”

Letting you partner know about difficulties helps in a few ways: it reassures your partner, it prevents you holding a secret, plus in some cases it may help you and your partner have a different form of sex or intimacy.

Oral sex and sensual touching are great alternatives to penetrative sex. Sensual touching need not be of the genitals and can include the nipples, neck, ears, back, thighs and more.

If no form of sex is possible, giving or receiving a massage could be a good way to have a similar form of closeness. Alternatively, you may decide to spend time at each other’s side watching a film you both like.

Talking about low blood sugar

If you’re at risk of low blood sugar because of medication you take, it helps to have good communication in case you suspect a hypo may be happening.

Low blood sugar can reduce stamina and make it harder to orgasm for some people, so recognising these signs can help to identify a hypo.

Don’t worry about breaking the mood – after a quick blood glucose test and taking some sugar you can soon get back to where you left off. Plus, if you’ve treated a low, after 10 minutes or so, you should have more energy.

When it comes to low blood sugar, safety is important so don’t take risks.

Sexual problems are treatable

If you have persistent problems with sex, the good news is that most problems are treatable.

Have a talk with your doctor about what the problem is. If you feel shy about talking to your doctor about sex, reassure yourself that millions of people in the UK have discussed sexual difficulties with their doctor and so doctors are very familiar with helping.

Keeping your partner informed will help to reduce uncertainty and worry they may have and allow you two to overcome things together.

A final word on blood sugar

A number of the difficulties related to sex can result from high blood sugar. If you can get blood sugar levels under control, this can improve some of the problems related to sex.

Another benefit of good blood sugar control is to prevent long-term sex problems such as erectile dysfunction and reduced nerve sensation from occurring.

If you’re looking to achieve healthy blood sugar levels, join the Low Carb Program which has seen thousands of people improve their diabetes.

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About the author

Benedict Jephcote

I have been researching and writing about diabetes for the best part of a decade. I have a passion for helping people with diabetes and championing their rights. Outside of diabetes, I have a love of music and seventeenth and eighteenth century history.

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