Sex and Diabetes
When my neighbor Leon was diagnosed with diabetes, he had one fear. “Sex is very important to me,” he said. “And to my wife, Carol. Will I still be able to have sex with diabetes?”
Leon has a legitimate concern. According to some estimates, up to 75% of men and 50% of women with diabetes develop sexual problems at some point. But the answer is yes. Leon and Carol may have to make some changes, but they can have good sex with diabetes. You can too.
Diabetes’ effect on sex
Poorly controlled diabetes can hurt your love life in several ways.
• High blood sugars can block blood vessels and damage nerves in the genital organs. These complications can prevent or weaken erections and ejaculation in men. They can dry up lubrication, cause painful intercourse, or prevent orgasm in women.
• Hormonal changes such as low testosterone levels can take away sexual desire. Men with diabetes are twice as likely to have a low testosterone level as men without diabetes.
• Diabetes-related symptoms, such as fatigue, numbness, or pain, may make sex difficult or less pleasurable.
• The psychological effects of diabetes may stop people’s sexuality. “Such things as feeling unattractive, blaming yourself for diabetes, and depression may damage both sexual desire and function. So can stress over health, money problems, and family issues,” I noted after hearing a talk by sexologist Dr. Mitchell Tepper.
• The effects of medications, especially drugs for high blood pressure and depression, can interfere with sexual function and desire.
• Low blood glucose can also interfere w Continue reading