With any illness or condition, there can be things that could put any part of our system out of whack. This can include our sex drive. So, what happens with sex and diabetes, particularly in women? Let’s take a closer look.
SEX AND DIABETES – THE PROBLEMS
- Urinary Tract Infection – This is when the tubes that run from your kidneys to your bladder (urinary tract) get infected (from high sugar levels). An infection in the lower part of your urinary tract is called cystitis. They cause pain in the lower abdomen and a burning/painful feeling while urinating. This is made worse by the frequent need to go to the bathroom because of the infection.
- Thrush – Most women have heard of yeast infections. And with or without diabetes, they are unbelievably uncomfortable. They cause stinging while peeing, itchy and painful sensations in the vagina, and a watery cottage cheese-like discharge. When sugar-levels get too high, it can sometimes trigger thrush infections. These are not STIs but they can be passed during sex (although anyone who’s had one of these knows that sex is the last thing on their mind).
- Vaginal Dryness – This can be one of the main reasons there is pain during sex. But this one has one of the easiest solutions. All you need is to invest in a good water-based lubricant. There is silicone if you don’t plan on using any sex toys and have sheets that you don’t mind being oil-stained. It does last longer, but water-based is easier to clean up.
- Less Physical Sensations – Having high levels for a long time can cause nerve damage, which can sometimes end up with areas around the vagina having less reaction to touch.
- Insulin Pump – Some people might be self-concision having sex with their insulin pump attached. But sites have said that 1 hour off of it could be safe – BUT TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR FIRST!
- Medications – some medications have a natural side effect of lowering the libido. And quite frankly, there are more out there than you think.
- Level Drops – Anyone with diabetes knows that level drops are no joke. And when they come in the middle of trying to be romantic, it can often put a damper on things.
- Other Conditions – Diabetes can cause other health issues like blindness or kidney failure. All of these come with their own issues and stressors that will stop most bedroom plans.
- Mindset Effects – With all of these problems, it’s no wonder people might find their sex life suffering. It’s not just the disease that takes a toll, the mind suffers too. There’s stress and anxiety, feeling self-conscious about your body, isolation, loneliness, feeling all-around horrible or ill. Even perfectly healthy people can find stress prevents them from having orgasms.
MANAGING SEX AND DIABETES
- Stop Smoking – You’ll hear any doctor recommend this. And for good reason. Nicotine increases blood sugar levels and makes them harder to control.
- Diet and Exercise – These are great for overall health and self-esteem.
- Stress Reduction – Practice mindfulness, deep breathing, or any other techniques that help reduce anxiety. Even reading a book in a quiet room if that works for you.
- See Your Doctor – Neglecting doctor visits is not an option. They can monitor your situation, change medications, and give better advice than any website.
- Do Kegels – women should do these no matter what health level. They strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, but they can also help you have better orgasms or reach them easier because you’re making those muscles sturdier.
- Talk To Your Partner – Communication is ALWAYS the key. Talk about how you’re feeling emotionally and physically. Tell your partner how they can help when you’re having lows and how they can sensually “take advantage” of your highs or when your sexuality peeks its head out. And, if you’re having trouble talking about things, there is ZERO shame in visiting a therapist or someone who specializes in what you’re going through (yes even sex and diabetes).
- Make Time For Sex or Romance – This can be a double-edged sword. Having sexy time might make people feel pressure to perform, which could put the brakes on all activities. But remember, it doesn’t have to be sex. You can give each other a massage. Watch a sexy movie or listen to a sexy audio book together. Even, just spend some time telling the other person all the things you adore about them.
- Not Always Penetration – One great way to take the stress off is to remember that actual intercourse doesn’t have to happen during sexy time (you don’t even have to have an orgasm). It can be about kissing, touching, or whatever gets the blood pumping. Even if you remain dry and a bone, but your heart is dripping and you feel connected to your lover, that’s a win in anyone’s book!
Society puts a lot of pressure on couples (or people in general) to have sex. This can be hard when someone is suffering from an illness but are then told they “can lead totally normal lives.” This is easy to say if that person hasn’t had a yeast and bladder infection at the same time.
But with today’s medicine and technology, managing levels is very possible … and so are intimacy and sex. You just have to change your mindset slightly around how bed shenanigans might work.