Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
February 2008 — About a year after Greg and I started dating, Marcy Playground released "Sex and Candy", a song which would become a one-hit wonder for the band. I remember chuckling to myself the first few times I heard the song. Not because the subject matter made me giggle, but because it made me reflect on the first year of our relationship.
Ours was a long distance relationship with 250 miles between us the first year and 1000 miles between us the second. When we were together, we found each other insatiable. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, the reality of Greg's diabetes would rear its ugly head in the form of hypoglycemia. Often, we were able to pick up where we left off after he treated a low with some juice or a handful of candy (his treatment of choice when traveling the 250 miles back and forth to my small college dorm room). Other times, the moment passed and could not be retrieved. As someone in her first intimate relationship, I thought it was my fault – I wasn't doing enough to resurrect the moment. Greg tried to assure me that this had always been a hurdle in his previous relationships. It would take awhile for me to accept that the aftermath of hypoglycemia could produce fatigue as well as disinterest in sex.
Sex and candy would still be part of our intimate moments once we started living together, but the urgency of those moments was greatly reduced with us being in the same time zone, same state, and same dwelling. Before long, the effect of type 2 diabetes on my body would create new challenges in the bedroom.
At the beginning of 2005, I was exhausted all the time, experiencing irregular periods, and was downright depressed about the amount of weight I had gained during the past year. And, well, I had little sex drive. All of my symptoms may have been caused by an anti-depressant and freshly diagnosed hypothyroidism, but my doctor also ordered an oral glucose tolerance test, which determined type 2 was part of the equation, too. It would take a few months of diet and exercise along with going off the anti-depressant before I felt better...and sexy.
No matter how much I have weighed, whether it be the 120 pounds I weighed when we met or the 180 pounds I weighed at the beginning of 2005 or the 140 pounds I weigh today, Greg insists that he has found me attractive, that the person inside matters most. But it took getting my health under control to believe it. I've begun to believe that even if I hadn't lost as much weight as I did, I would feel good about my body as long as blood sugar was under control. When my blood sugars are higher during the week before my period, I feel like the most unattractive woman on the planet. It's the rest of the month when my blood sugar is under control where I feel sexy and desire intimacy.
Diabetes will always impact our sex life, probably more and more as we grow old together. Reminiscing about the old days of "sex and candy" might just inspire us then.
Disclaimer dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
Last Modified Date: February 14, 2014
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dLife's Sex & Intimacy Content is contributed & moderated by
Janis Roszler MSFT, RD, CDE, LDN
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 MSW, BSN, RN, CDE
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).