Heard a Good Myth Lately?

Debunking popular phallic fallacies


Everyone knows that Roman, Greek, and Norse mythology isn't true, but many still believe that sexual myths are very real, especially those associated with diabetes. Let's examine a few popular male sexual myths and put them to rest:

  • Myth: If you are a man with diabetes, you will develop erection problems.
    The Real Story: Erectile dysfunction doesn't have to happen to every man with diabetes. The best way to keep it from developing is to take care of your ABC's — keep your A1C, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol levels in a healthy range. According to the American Diabetes Association, your A1C should be less than 7% (or lower); your blood pressure should be less than 130/80 mmHg; your LDL (bad) cholesterol level should be less than 11 mg/dL (0.61 mmol/l); and your HDL (good) cholesterol should be above 40 mg/dL (2.22 mmol/l). If you have a difficult time achieving an erection in more than half of your attempts, contact your doctor. There are many effective treatments you can try.
  • Myth: Bigger is better.
    The Real Story: The average erect penis is between five and six inches, and the average flaccid penis is about 3 1/2 inches. Researchers at UCLA surveyed more than 52,000 heterosexual men and women. They found that 85% of the females were satisfied with the size of their partner's penis. Yet only 55% of the men were satisfied with their size. Men may be concerned, but most women don't seem to think bigger is better.
  • Myth: Testosterone causes aggression.
    The Real Story: Many men with diabetes have a low testosterone level. When properly treated, many often experience an improvement in their sexual abilities and energy level without becoming aggressive. If you have erection problems, ask your doctor to check your testosterone level. If it is low, it is very easy to treat and could make a real difference in your life.
  • Myth: Alcohol is an aphrodisiac.
    The Real Story: According to Dr. Ruth, one of our favorite sexuality experts, more than a single glass of wine can constrict your blood vessels and interfere with your ability to become aroused. If you have diabetes, alcohol can also cause your blood glucose level to drop rapidly, especially if you drink before eating anything first. The American Diabetes Association recommends men consume two or less alcoholic drinks per day. A drink is defined as 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of distilled spirits.
  • Myth: Oysters are a potent aphrodisiac.
    The Real Story: Oysters appear to contain two rare amino acids that increase sex hormone levels in men and women — testosterone in males and progesterone in females. Unfortunately, these amino acids lose their "mojo" when cooked. But don't take this as a recommendation to try raw oysters, because they should be avoided by people with diabetes. If you consume raw or undercooked oysters, you can contract the vibrio vulnificus infection. Symptoms include abdominal pain, fever or chills, skin lesions, and hypotension. To avoid developing this condition, do not eat any raw oysters, regardless of how they are prepared. For more information, check out www.safeoysters.org.


Got diabetes questions? Ask an Expert!

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.


Last Modified Date: April 01, 2014

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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Jamis Roszler
Janis Roszler

Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N is the American Association of Diabetes Educators' 2008-2009 Diabetes Educator of the Year.  She is a certified diabetes educator, marriage and family therapist, and registered dietitian. Her books include Sex and Diabetes (ADA) Diabetes on your OWN Terms (Marlowe & Co) and The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes (Surrey books).

Donna Rice
Donna Rice

Donna Rice MBA,RN,CDE,FAADE is the 2007 Past President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. She is a registered nurse, diabetes educator and has developed numerous educational programs on sexual health and wellness.  She is the co-author of  Sex and Diabetes (ADA) and Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction - A Quick ‘n' Easy Handbook For the Diabetes Educator (Bella Vita).  Her newest publication is a children's book, The Magic is Me (Searchlight Press).

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