The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes (Continued)
Tips for Successful Intimacy
Sweets for the Sweet: Hypoglycemia in the bedroom
A drop in blood glucose levels during sexual activity can put the brakes on a romantic evening.
Jan and Kevin were starting to get romantic when Jan noticed that Kevin was uncharacteristically losing interest. His movement became slowed and he just lay there. His skin was getting moist and clammy. Jan ran for his blood sugar monitor. Kevin checked his sugar and it was in the low 50s. Fortunately he had orange juice boxes at the bedside and he quickly treated his low. Kevin now checks regularly before things get heavy.
To prevent blood glucose lows during sexual activity, test your blood sugars before getting intimate, if possible.
Sex and an Insulin Pump
There are two options with the insulin pump: wear it or disconnect it. A pump can be safely removed for about 45 minutes to an hour if you use Humalog or Novolog insulin. Some people leave their pump on when the spontaneity of the moment takes over.
I keep my pump on about 90 percent of the time and unhook it quickly if it gets in the way. Once, afterward, I went into the bathroom, and it fell into the toilet. Now that was funny! To truly enjoy sex with a pump, don't give it a lot of attention. Your pump should not inhibit any part of your life; it's meant to make life easier.
If your pump gets disconnected during sexual activity, reconnect when done. Test your blood glucose and take a correction dose of insulin if needed.
Here are some tips for nurturing intimacy:
1. If you have sexual difficulties, attend counseling sessions as a couple if you can. This will help both partners be active participants in any treatment that the therapist suggests.
2. If your partner attempts to quit smoking, it may alter your social life in the short run. He or she may temporarily need to stay away from the smoking temptations of nightclubs and other social gatherings. Together, search for alternative forms of entertainment, like movies and plays. If you both smoke, try to cut back or quit together.
3. Be patient and supportive when sexual difficulties occur.
4. Be open about your sexual needs. It is upsetting if you can't meet the sexual needs of the one you love. Experiment with sexual positions and allow time for additional stimulation. Encourage discussion with a member if your partner's healthcare team if the two of you cannot resolve an issue.
5. Don't panic if the pump is accidentally pulled out during sexual activity. You will not be injured. Even if some bleeding occurs, it is not harmful.
6. Exercise together. It is fun and will enhance your relationship as you both improve your health.
7. Has your spouse's physical appearance become a sexual "turnoff"? Reconnect on a non-sexual level by taking walks and enjoying weekly outings. Rediscover the person you love.
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I had a bad one last night. A scary low bloodsugar that reminded me just how tenuous diabetes makes my existence. I hate those. I hate the feeling that I'm anything less than a strong, capable woman. Diabetes, like a sledge hammer to the knees, has a way of hobbling the confidence I have in my health, strength and well-being. It is both frustrating and disheartening. It's 2:00 am and a good friend called from their third shift job because they needed someone. Just...