What’s going on with your blood sugar can have a huge impact on how you feel between the sheets—and not in a good way. Medical conditions such as diabetes can cause your sex life to take a plunge. As a diabetic, you have multiple obstacles for achieving a satisfying sex life that other people don’t have. The good news is that once you understand how to deal with the symptoms, you can boost your sexual satisfaction big time.
Find some new toys
If sex feels a little (or a lot) less intense lately, diabetes may be to blame. Diabetics often have decreased blood flow to the vagina because of blood vessel changes, which leads to less arousal and sensation. Studies show that diabetics don’t orgasm as easily as others due to vascular changes and nerve damage. In short, what used to work for you in terms of reaching orgasm may not be working anymore, so it’s time to try something new. The quickest way to get the stimulation you need is a vibrator. Make sure the model you use offers clitoral stimulation because it won’t help much to have something hard or overly powerful inside your vagina.
Pay attention to pH
Increased blood sugar levels can throw the pH balance of your vagina out of whack, upping your odds of chronic vaginal infections. When pH goes up, the healthy lactobacilli in your vagina can no longer survive, and you get bad bacteria growth like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. One way to keep your bacteria in balance is with an OTC vaginal gel twice a week.
Eat to get in the mood
Aphrodisiacs aren’t just something your hippie cousin told you about. There’s some science to back up the popular notion that eating certain foods can have a positive effect on your sex drive. The mineral zinc may work as a libido-enhancer by helping with testosterone production, and oysters hold more zinc than any other food. Other good sources of zinc include red meat (which is healthy in moderation, especially if you go grass-fed), crab, and cashews.
Control your glucose levels
In an obvious way, you need to do this for your overall health, but your vagina will thank you for it, too. Maintaining blood sugar in the normal range helps protect blood vessels, prevent nerve damage, and makes it easier for your vagina to fight off infections. That means ditching high-glycemic carbs in favor of whole grains, protein, and fruits and veggies. Paying attention to calories is also essential. Taking in less food puts less demand on the insulin-producing cells so they’re more efficient, as well as eliminating extra fat in the pancreas that inhibits insulin production.
Research shows exercise plays a role in reversing diabetes symptoms—and it also works wonders for your sex life by strengthening your heart, improving flexibility and stamina, and increasing blood flow to those all-important areas. No need to sign up for a marathon; low-impact workouts like yoga also can increase circulation, even awakening sensation in areas where you may have experienced nerve damage, like your fingers and toes.
Use a sugar-free lubricant
Lubricant should be a part of everyone’s sexual arsenal, but diabetics need to watch which lubes they choose. Some lubricants actually contain forms of sugar, such as glycerin and propylene glycol, which will throw off your vaginal pH and possibly trigger yeast infections. The last thing you want if you already have higher levels of sugar in your vagina is to add more sugar to it. Check the ingredients list and choose a silicone-based lube.
Learn to love your body
If you’re like many people with diabetes, you’ve been advised by your doctor to lose weight. This can lead to some awfully critical feelings about your body. Not that you need to be diabetic to have those concerns. A recent study found that both men and women in long-term relationships reported feeling distracted by negative thoughts about their bodies during sex. And women, in particular, said that they were worried about what their partners thought.
Get some sleep
Most people don’t get enough sleep, and for diabetics, getting your zzz’s is especially important. Sleep has been found to play a role in controlling blood sugar. A study has found that regularly getting less than six hours of sleep per night made people three times more likely to have elevated blood sugar levels.
Don’t have sex
If you’re not feeling up to sex on a given night, there are other ways to maintain the bond with your partner. Spicing up your sex life doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to try a bunch of unusual positions. You can be erotic and sexual without engaging in sex. Doing things intimacy without intercourse can strengthen your bond. It can be cuddling during a movie, reading erotic literature, or splurging on a treat like a couples massage.
Find a sexpert
No one should have to live with less-than-stellar sex. There’s help out there for you, but if you’re a diabetic, it might just take a little extra searching. The sexual side effects of having diabetes are real, but you may have a doctor who’s not an expert in that area. If your doctor is unable to address your concerns, start by checking out a university-based sexual clinic.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: December 30, 2016 | Last Modified: March 16, 2017
Holly C. Cobbert. 10 essential sex tips for diabetics. www.prevention.com/health/diabetes/type-2-diabetes-and-sex. Accessed June 25th, 2015.