​How Diabetes can affect your sex life

The natural supplements industry is over a billion dollar industry worldwide. Quite a few of these magic potions are designed to fight the problems couple have in bed, including low libido and ED. It is quite possible that individuals are self-diagnosing their illnesses and have no clue what is causing the problems.

According to CBS New affects 371 million individuals worldwide and yet 187 million do not know they have the disease. These are figures from the International Diabetes Federation from 2012 – so six years later the numbers have certainly grown.

Diabetes is divided into two categories: Type I, which is insulin dependent and Type 2, which is traditionally adult onset diabetes. Type 1 covers 415 million individuals of which 46% have been undiagnosed. They estimate 366 million have Type 2. In the U.S. about 95% of those who have diabetes have Type 2.

No matter which type you have, the disease can cause more problems than just in the bedroom. It can lead to kidney failure, blindness, amputations and many more severe consequences. It is imperative that those with the disease keep their high sugar under control and watch their A1C numbers.

The good news/bad news scenario is that 99% of Type 2 diabetes care been cured or avoided by simple lifestyle changes. About 9 cases in 10 could be avoided by taking several simple steps: keeping weight under control, exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking. Type 1diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys cells in the pancreas. Typically, the disease first appears in childhood or early adulthood. So far modern research has not found a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Many people with diabetes suffer difficulties with sex but are embarrassed to discuss them with their doctors. This can be true for many Type 2 individuals because their doctors are always telling them to lose weight. If they brought up their bedroom issues, they believe the answer would be a simple ‘lose weight.’

Face it; the ability to have satisfying sex can affect a person’s quality of life. If you once had a very active lifestyle, the inability to have sex can lead to depression, impact on self-esteem and other mental problems. Sex is wonderful. Missing out on it can often lead to a mindset that says ‘what’s left’?

Diabetes impact on women

Diabetes can have different effects on each of the sexes, and then some of the effects will be the same.

Because diabetes can interfere with the natural responses of nerve endings (neuropathy), women may have difficulties becoming aroused and have no response to sexual stimulation and foreplay. Their partners can become frustrated because they believe they are doing something wrong, when in fact, they are not. In addition a woman may become extra dry and have to endure painful sex which usually does not end in an orgasm.

Great Sand Sea, Sahara Desert, Africa

If a woman has gone through menopause, these incidents may become more profound. As if they didn’t have enough problems, women with diabetes have a tendency to be plagued with thrush, cystitis, and the dreaded urinary tract infections. None of these will lead to a satisfying sexual experience.

Recommendations for women to have better sex with diabetes include:

Say good-bye to dryness: Purchasing a water-base lubricant over the counter from any pharmacy will solve the dryness problem. You can experiment with ones you like the most by making your purchase on-line. Many websites have sample packets you can try to discover which one you like the bet.

Lose weight: Being overweight can contribute to low self-esteem and loss of libido. A recent Duke University study found that shedding weight (17.5 percent of body weight) helped obese men and women feel better about sex than they had previously. However, being diabetic you want a diet that is safe and not a fad.

Pair of female feet on a bathroom scale

Reduce stress: Stress can also inhibit sexual desire. Remove as many stressors from your life as possible. To better handle unavoidable stress, consider taking up a yoga or meditation class to reduce anxiety and provide calm. This will not only help with your sexual satisfaction, but bring peace to other areas of your life.

Diabetes impact on men

Remember all those miracle supplements? Diabetic men have lower testosterone levels which can impede performance as well as libido. They also have issues gaining and keeping an erection. One diabetes center states than 50% of men who have had diabetes for 10 years or more have ED.

We mentioned neuropathy in women. This same problem in men can restrict blood flow to the penis. It can also interfere with messages from the brain to the sexual organs. Experts estimate that 75 percent of men and 35 percent of women with diabetes experience some sexual problems due to diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) to the nerves that stimulate normal sexual response.

Human heads with light bulbs and gears on red background

Side effects of certain medications can alter testosterone levels, also causing erectile dysfunction. Other conditions that accompany diabetes can also contribute to ED, including:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem and anxiety
  • Not enough exercise

Retrograde ejaculation is also another sexual issue men may experience as a complication of Type 2 diabetes. This is when semen is ejaculated into the bladder instead of out of the penis. It’s caused by your internal sphincter muscles not working property. These muscles are responsible for opening and closing passages in the body. Abnormally high glucose levels can result in nerve damage to the sphincter muscles, causing retrograde ejaculation.

Also, feel free to ask about erectile dysfunction drugs. Some men are candidates for ED drugs and some aren’t. Penile pumps may also be an option. Max performer pills have been one type of pill that has outperformed many in sustaining a great erection even with ED.


Both men and women with diabetes can often feel tired. This can be physical as well as mental. They are so preoccupied with their health, they cannot focus on another are.

The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), a 10-year National Institutes of Health in the U.S. study of individuals with Type 1 diabetes, found that improved diabetes control decreased the risk of developing neuropathy by 60 percent. This means the steps you can take to manage your diabetes are the same keys that open the doors to a healthy sexual relationship.

Recommendations include:

  • Controlling blood sugar levels
  • Keeping good blood pressure numbers
  • Keeping cholesterol below average
  • Lowering triglyceride levels


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 can increase circulation, even awakening sensation in areas where you may have experienced nerve damage, like your fingers and toes.

If you're like many people with diabetes, you've been advised by your doctor to lose weight—which 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 they were worried about what their partner thought.

Most people don't get enough sleep, and for diabetics, getting your beauty sleep is especially important. Sleep has been found to play a role in controlling blood sugar—one study found that regularly getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night made people three times more likely to have elevated blood sugar levels.

Couple sleeping in a comfortable bed

You do not have to have sex to have intimacy. Doing something intimate that doesn't involve intercourse—whether it's cuddling during a movie, reading erotic literature, or splurging on a treat like a couples’ massage—can strengthen your bond.

Stuart Brown

Stuart Brown

I'm Stuart, senior Editor at British Condoms. I am an expert in all areas of sexual health and have a passion to drive knowledge to youth in the UK. Any questions for me or media enquiries, please feel free to tweet me @britishcondoms. Always open to engagement.

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