Let’s talk about sex. If that opening sentence doesn’t get your attention, I’m not sure what would but sex is an integral part of life and the survival of our species as a whole. Without sex, there would be no procreation and therefore no propagation of our species. Setting side the possibility of fertilization through scientific means and/or the fact that some people honestly SHOULDN’T procreate, sex isn’t ALL there is in life but it is an important part of it, and most would agree that Diabetes can throw something of a monkey wrench into one’s plan to make the beast with two backs…
Like all things in the life of someone with Type-1 Diabetes, sex can be a difficult topic because it’s more difficult for us. Depending on blood sugar levels, comfort, etc, it can be difficult getting to go time and even more difficult and awkward trying to explain that to a potential partner. That’s why I thought I would share some advice on what’s worked for me and what I’ve experienced through the years. Although it applies to both genders, I’ll obviously be focusing on the male half of the equation since, well… I’m a dude.
1. Be open and communicative: Let’s be honest; most people dive right into sex without really talking about it. We see all kinds of articles and experts talk about how sexual partners should communicate but it very rarely happens. It DOES happen, just maybe not as often as it potentially should. But in this scenario, it’s important to be honest about one’s Diabetes and explain how it may affect the overall possibility of having sex when one wants to. There’s nothing more awkward than having to explain, “It’s not you, baby! My blood sugar is just low!” Better to communicate that Froom the beginning to avoid that awkwardness, which brings me to the next point…
2. Monitor your blood glucose and balance accordingly: This one can be a little tough, especially if you’re out on a nice date, eating out at a restaurant where carb-counting may be harder than with controlled portions at home. Making sure you test and monitor your blood sugars and eat in reasonable amounts if you suspect the evening may lead to adult-happy-playtime is important. If you eat at a buffet and gorge yourself, you may find yourself unable to perform whether your blood sugars are balance or not but bear in mind that in most cases, high blood sugar will leave your little soldier just as helpless as low blood sugar.
3. Do what works for you: This can be a tough one because it somewhat contradicts point #1. It’s important to do what works for you, especially when Diabetes comes into play. For example, it may be easier for you to “rise to the occasion” if you’re on the bottom and don’t have to contribute large amounts of blood flow to your legs to keep from crushing your partner. Ultimately, an erection involve blood flow to the penis, and blood flow is already something that most Type-1 Diabetics have difficulty with. Of course, that’s why point #1 is so important but it can be tough trying to explain to your partner that you’re not trying to be selfish and only do what YOU like, it may simply be that performing is all that much harder (pun not intended) in certain ways.
4. Be impulsive/Don’t pre-plan: Yet another contradiction but oh, so important. Most of us can likely remember spur-of-the-moment sexual encounters where although you were romantically involved with someone, you didn’t necessarily expect to have sex and then BAM! Y’all hit funky town! It can be hard to find a balance between ensuring you’ve prepared from a blood sugar and dietary standpoint but still manage to keep things fresh and impulsive. Eventually, certain aspects of life get in the way. Having children in the home and trying to deal with Diabetes may cause significant periods of time to elapse between sexual encounters. And as much as that sucks, there’s also nothing wrong with that. Many couple try to pre-plan their sexual encounters or have specific “date nights,” but this will often lead to undue expectations and pressure, which can make it difficult to perform.
5. Don’t be so hard on yourself (pun intended): There’s this unwritten expectation that having sex is supposed to be some earth-shattering experience that will utterly and completely rock your world. That expectation can lead to significant disappointment, much like daydreaming about that cupcake all day at work, only to finally eat it and having it be no better than a market muffin with canned frosting. Allow yourself to take it easy and be easy. If sex is initiated and you can’t rise to the occasion or blood sugars interfere or if you’re like me, it’s just too fuckin’ hot in the bedroom, it’s not the end of the world. It’s okay for it to not be your night. It’s not a slight against you or your partner and it’s important you both know that.
At the end of the day, sex is an important song and dance that incorporates a fine balance of planning ahead and just letting things happen naturally. It’s important to have a partner who is willing to communicate and understand, especially if there are limitations that may prevent things d from happening. Anyone who isn’t willing to meet you in the middle regarding those limits may not be the person you want in your life and certainly not the one you should want to share yourself intimately with. Demanding is a big no-no, whether you’re on the receiving or the giving end. The whole point behind sex (besides procreation) is intimacy and one can’t achieve that by making demands.
Take all of this with grain of salt. I’m not a doctor or health practitioner, I’m not a sexual therapist or educator. But I have had type-1 Diabetes for over four decades and have encountered everything I’ve written above in some way, shape or form. Those aspects becomes even more prominent as we get older. That’s why it’s so important to take good care of oneself in order to continue enjoying all the more pleasant aspects of life. Food for thought… ☯️