Yes, I’m going here. We are going to talk about it today and I’m going to bare my soul (not other parts of my body…this is not one of those websites) to give you my take on diabetes and sex. However, before we do…
There is a very funny Daily Show on right now, followed by a riveting documentary on some topic I am absolutely sure will be exactly what you need to watch right now. Or read a book. Something else. Because…nothing to see here. Move along. Come back tomorrow.**
Couple of things straight up…
- I’m a chick, so I can only give you a female perspective on this. I’d love to see a male diabetic take on the same subject for the other gender’s point of view.
- I wasn’t a virgin when I got married. (Neither the first time nor the second time.) I’ve had sex with men who were not my husband(s) before I was married. If you’re offended by that, please don’t read on. You’ll just get all huffy and indignant and I’m not about ruining your day. You have your views and I have mine on this topic. I respect your views. Respect mine.
- I like sex. A lot. When it’s with someone who makes you laugh out of the bedroom (and sometimes in it), it’s even better. You and I are not going to make love (again, not this kind of website), but I do plan on making you laugh in this post.
Still with me? Good. Dim the lights, turn up the music, and let’s get it on…. (Hat tip to Barry White…)
I had unsafe sex in the 90s. No, no, no. Not that kind of unsafe sex! Safe sex means something completely different to diabetics. It means checking your blood sugar before you get swept up in the moment. If the earth moves under your feet, it better be because you are having a good time and not because you’re shaking from a low.
Pre-insulin pump and pre-Humalog days were a little easier for me to get away with “unsafe sex”, because my blood sugars didn’t crash quite so quickly, but I was caught with my pants down (you may roll your eyes) on more than one occasion. Nothing says buzzkill like saying: “Hey, you know what you could do right now that would make me scream with ecstasy? Get me a big glass of juice.”
Nowadays, checking and an occasional carb loading is part of the less than sexy part of foreplay I must partake in. So, remember kids. Always practice safe sex. Both kinds.
I laugh watching movies in which the lovers attack each other, ripping articles of clothing off with teeth, popping buttons, flinging each other around and going at it in crazy places. I’m honestly a little jealous, because these days, for a diabetic wearing an insulin pump and a CGM, it’s more like:
“Hold on. Let me disconnect this… Wait. Don’t pull on that. Tubing. Ow. Where’s my CGM? Careful. Don’t drop that. Shoot. Sorry, did the insertion set scrape you?”
You’re getting the picture. I have to plan for “spontaneous sex” now. I long for my younger days (pre-pump), when spontaneous meant exactly that, but I do not long for the lack of control I had when it came to my blood sugar. It’s a trade-off, but one I’m willing to make so I can continue to have “not spontaneous” sex for a long time to come.
All That Sugar…
Whipped cream. Chocolate sauce. Strawberries. Honey.
How much do you dose for those when you’re not quite sure how much you’ll eat?
Everything Mickey Rourke fed Kim Basinger in this scene, except for the hot pepper, had sugar in it. Jeez.
(P.S. This was before Mickey Rourke looked like a bad medical experiment.)
Seven of Nine isn’t that sexy sometimes…
I have bumps and lumps and marks from years of injecting. Bruises show up from a bad insertion set. I don’t find them sexy. Gone are the days of proudly parading around in skimpy lingerie. Sex isn’t just about the physical act; it’s about feeling sexy, too.
I don’t think being a cyborg is enticing and it does impact how I see myself in another person’s eyes. (My husband may tell you otherwise, but this is about me and my perspective.) I hate dragging myself out of a blissful stupor to reattach myself to my pump and can’t ever just drift off to sleep curled up naked. Naked means not wearing anything. I’m always wearing a pump.
Control? Blood Glucose or Birth? Both…
The “Pill” was introduced to my body long before it became useful for it’s originally intended reason to prevent me from writhing in pain for days each month. I was on and off it for years, changing dosages and types as new ones came on the market. It helped with the gut-wrenching menstrual cycles, but come to find out I was putting myself at high risk of stroke (I have a clotting disorder that wasn’t diagnosed until my late 30s). The docs now tell us that diabetes and oral contraceptives may not be the best mix if you’ve got a history of stroke/blood clots/clotting disorders in your family or if you’re over 35. So, next…
IUDs are also pretty much out. The risk of infection (thanks again, diabetes) is greater for us, so it’s not a great option.
The reproductive endocrinologist we saw wanted me to stop getting pregnant (and miscarrying) for a while, so it was frisbee (diaphragm) and foams and standing in the middle of the “family planning aisle” at CVS wondering when condoms started to come in bright colors. (Who the hell says: “Hey, honey? Neon pink or emerald green tonight?”) Truthfully, I was always a “can’t be too careful” sort of girl, so there was always a multiple barrier option being exercised in my youth. It didn’t mess with my blood sugars. That’s the only positive thing I can say about those types of birth control.
Even though your heart might be into it, your body may not be. I’m all for lots and lots of foreplay, and not just because it’s fun. For women, high blood sugars can make us less physically responsive, no matter how much we want it. Emily Post believes in hand-written thank you notes when you really feel strongly, so I think K-Y will be getting a perfectly penmanshipped “Merci!” on linen stationary soon. That stuff is liquid gold, but man, it is messy.
If I’ve had a nasty low, I don’t want to get nasty. I want to sleep it off. It takes a toll in the bedroom…or the couch…or the…. pick your favorite place… and I hate when my blood sugars go crazy, because it usually means I can’t. Diabetes can mess with your head – and your body – and your sex life. Don’t take it just from me; here’s a study. And this study. And high blood sugars? While it hasn’t happened in a very long while to me, diabetics are prone and primed for yeast infections. It makes getting lucky more like “get the hell away from me”.
This all being said, I know a lot of diabetics who have healthy and happy sex lives. I also know a lot of non-diabetics who don’t. Sex isn’t everything, but it sure is something. And I enjoy that “something”, even though my diabetes gives me that extra “something something” I don’t really want. Sex with diabetes is good, but I can only imagine that sex without diabetes is better.
See, told you that I wouldn’t bare my body, but you do get a little insight into what goes through my head. (Not everything. It’s not that kind of website.)
** When I was a senior in high school, I had a midnight curfew. Midnight. Not five minutes later. Midnight. But I could have friends over. One night, I brought a friend over to hang out after midnight. Just so happened to be a boy. I yelled up to my parents that the guy and I would be hanging out in my room. The story goes that my dad said to my stepmom:
“Do you think Christel’s still a virgin?”
“I don’t know. What time is it?”