How does diabetes affect your sex life?

Unfortunately, few of us consider it necessary to discuss issues of sex life with a doctor. In fact, we should not forget that diabetes can have an impact on sexual life and sexual health, both physically and psychologically. Despite the fact that many diabetics seek to get maximum information about the short-term and long-term complications of diabetes, it is often a question how diabetes affects sex life, hiding at the very bottom of the list. In this, as a rule, the feelings of restraint and discomfort that arise when discussing the topic of sex with strangers are to blame. Remember that sex is a natural part of each of our lives, and the presence of diabetes should not restrict you from enjoying the sexual component of life.

Decreased libido

People with diabetes are more likely to experience sexual problems. Both men and women may experience decreased libido or decreased sexual desire 1 . Many factors can affect our libido: from stress, fatigue and depression to the side effects of medications and a simple lack of energy. All of these factors are often present in people with diabetes. If you have any symptoms of decreased libido, consult your doctor to determine what measures you can take to correct the situation. Do not be nervous and shy – you are not the first who are faced with this problem. It may seem new and unknown to you, but qualified medical personnel will be able to help you.

Lack of understanding

Do not forget to discuss the problems with your partner. Lack of understanding between the parties can negatively affect the sexual aspect of the relationship. Even if diabetes is present only, let’s say you, your partner and people close to you will also feel that you have this disease. Open and frank conversations with a partner will bring you closer and help you to avoid misunderstanding if one day your sex life becomes not as active as before. In the absence of an understanding of the problem, your partner may feel rejected. Nevertheless, knowing what causes and emotions are behind your decisions will help to work through the problem, and you will again be able to experience a feeling of joy from intimacy with your partner.

The effects of diabetes on men’s sexual health

The most common problem faced by men with diabetes mellitus, both types 1 and 2, is erectile dysfunction. It occurs as a result of damage to the nerves ( neuropathy ) and blood vessels supplying the penis with blood at constantly high levels of blood sugar 2 . Such injuries disrupt the flow of blood to the organ, which ultimately leads to problems with the emergence and maintenance of an erection. Fortunately, thanks to the progress in modern medicine, erectile dysfunction is no longer a sentence and is successfully treated. In case of erectile dysfunction, be sure to discuss the problem with your doctor, as this disease may indicate the presence of other complications.

The effects of diabetes on women’s sexual health

Women with diabetes may experience a range of sexual health problems. These problems can occur in all women at different periods of their lives and are not dependent on the presence of diabetes. However, diabetes can increase the risk of exposure to such problems.

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal infections (candidiasis / yeast infections)
  • Inflammatory diseases of the vagina
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Cystitis
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Problems with achieving orgasm

As in men, maintaining high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood can lead to damage to the nerves and blood vessels that are responsible for the blood supply to the genitals.   In women, such damage can lead to vaginal dryness and decreased sensitivity. If you have diabetes for the first time, do not panic, all of the above problems are quite easily treated. Most importantly, do not hesitate – all these problems occur in many women for a variety of reasons.

If you have any problems, contact your doctor – he will give you the necessary advice and will recommend treatment.
Hypoglycemia during sex

As you probably already know, during physical activity, blood sugar levels tend to fall. Sex can often be equated to intense physical activity, so it can cause a sharp drop in blood sugar levels and lead to likely hypoglycemia. To prevent possible complications, take a measurement of sugar levels before and after having sex. Depending on the obtained indicators, you may need to eat (as well as before exercise). Of course, the need to perform such procedures is unlikely to increase your sexual desire, however, you can protect yourself from the occurrence of hypoglycemia. Also, consider storing glucose tablets and fast-acting carbohydrate products on the nightstand, in case they are needed. Diabetics using an insulin pump to treat can disconnect the pump before having sex – most importantly, remember the subsequent need to plug it in again.

If you are looking for good diabetes control and a healthy and active sex life, learn how to plan ahead. Pay attention to exploring how to “make friends” diabetes and sex and how to achieve the best results in both aspects. Be prepared for possible problems you will face and find out how to overcome them. Discuss the situation with your partner and help him / her give you all possible assistance.

New relationship

The emergence of a new person in life is a moment of special joy. New relationships, new worries, the opportunity to learn a lot. As a rule, all people tend to hide something from a new partner. One of the questions that we are hardly ready to discuss at the first date is the presence of any diseases. No matter how much you want to hide from your partner the presence of diabetes, do not try to do this for many reasons. At a minimum, diabetes is a part of your daily life, and sooner or later your partner will know about it.

Moreover, you may need physical and emotional support in managing diabetes, so it’s best to be honest and open from the start. Knowing that you have diabetes, your partner may be more sensitive, understanding, and will provide you with the necessary support. Diabetes is not something to be ashamed of. A loving partner should accept you for who you are, including diabetes and its treatment.

Diabetes and sex in adolescence

If you are raising a teenager, making sex talk is just a matter of time. As a rule, a teenager with diabetes needs a little more information about the aspects of sex life than a normal teenager, since sex in diabetes is accompanied by some dangerous moments. Despite the fact that the discussion of sex is often quite difficult, do not forget that getting to know sex is an essential step in your child’s growing up, and you as an adult should take some initiative. An open and honest discussion of sexual issues with a teenager will allow him to better prepare for unfamiliar situations that may arise in the future. If you or your teenager are not ready to discuss the details, you can provide the necessary information with which the teenager will get acquainted at a convenient time.

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