Sex and Diabetes

Boulder Weekly | August 17, 2005
You're not going to believe this, but nowhere on the website of the American Diabetic Association do they discuss whether swallowing when giving a guy oral sex impacts your blood sugar level, or if diabetic girls taste sweeter.

At least they were kind enough to intimate that nobody's diabetic penis is going to get gangrene, although I wouldn't wear a cock ring, given how decreased circulation and numbness can be problems.

Just about anyone who has ever done a finger stick knows about the importance of exercise. Exercise increases the number of insulin receptors in your cells. It can make the insulin you do have work better and your diabetes easier to manage. Fortunately, there's no rule that says exercise can't be done while you are naked at home with your sweetheart rather than at a gym.

One reader had a nasty experience while performing oral sex on her boyfriend. It was her first time, so she assumed the funny feeling she was having was from being nervous. She was kneeling over the boy when she fainted from low blood sugar, almost choking on his penis. At least she thinks it was from the low blood sugar.

The last thing you'll feel like doing is checking your blood sugar before, during and after sex. But until you understand your body's reactions while making love, especially with a new partner, taking frequent readings is the only way you will learn.

You will especially want to learn about your body's reactions in the minutes and hours after sex. Your muscles will be eating up extra glucose to keep your pelvis flying. And hormones like adrenaline, nonadrenaline and prolactin that are released during orgasm will change your blood sugar, sometimes dramatically.

A healthcare provider or diabetes educator can help you with lovemaking management strategies. Should you adjust your insulin downward? Is it a good idea to inject yourself in the abdomen before a love-making marathon, or does the bunny-like thrusting of hips cancel any slow-down in the insulin absorption rate that you might hope to gain? Should you eat something other than your partner before, during or after sex?

It's usually best to avoid strenuous lovemaking whenever you aren't feeling well, at peak insulin action times, or if you have high blood sugar and ketones. During these days, try planting gentle kisses on your partner's neck while he or she masturbates.

It is also essential to educate your partner about diabetes, and how he or she can recognize your hypogylcemic episodes and other blood sugar nastiness. They need to know how to be in charge when you aren't, and what to do. It will be much harder to explain after the fact, and you can make up for any inconvenience by giving them a particularly nice ride in the saddle or a prolonged loin licking.

Here are a few of many other sex-matters to consider:

-Safe Sex for diabetics includes keeping a pack of Lifesavers next to the condoms and lube.

-Women should watch out for blood sugar weirdness a few days before and after their periods. If you can find any menstrual-related patterns, you'll know to make adjustments in your diet, exercise, insulin, and sexual robustness.

-High glucose in the blood means that more glucose is available in the vagina. This can trigger a yeast infection. Plenty of women discovered they were diabetic as a result of recurrent yeast and urinary tract infections.

-Decreased vaginal lubrication and erection problems are common side effects of diabetes. These problems can be due to an interruption in nervous-system feedback, problems in circulation, or a combination of both. Store-bought lube is a great equalizer for women, and Viagra-like medications are helpful for at least 50% of males. Be sure to consult with your healthcare professional before taking erection medications.

-If you can't live without getting your love parts pierced, the chances of getting an infection are higher when your blood glucose levels (BGLs) are elevated. Infections will increase the scarring around the piercing site and they will make your BGLs shoot even higher. Get thee to a health-care provider at the slightest indication of an infection. Also, tongue piercings will make your tongue swollen and sore, which will inspire you to skip meals, which can lead to a hypoglycemic episode.

-If you are a female diabetic who gets frequent urinary tract infections, consider shacking up with a partner who is into golden showers. Peeing before and after sex helps decrease the chances of getting UTIs, so going on your guy will be killing two birds with one stone, or stream.

-Be sure to wear a medical ID bracelet or tag, and if you're a guy who's cruising the parks or trails, you might put an extra tag on the waistband in the front of your briefs where it's more likely to be seen.

-Sugar binges from marijuana munchies can be a problem, although some people claim that marijuana helps even out their blood sugar. I haven't seen any studies on this, so please discuss it with your endocrinologist. Ecstasy can make you think you have boundless energy when your body is on its way to a blood sugar low, and blood sugar lows from alcohol are the most dangerous of all. Keep in mind that when you have been partying, others around you will assume that any unusual behavior is from being drunk or stoned.

Diabetes doesn't mean you can't be as good or bad as anyone else in bed. It just means that you've got to plan ahead and jump through a few more hoops.

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